by Dr. Ken Canfield
As grandparents, we can fully appreciate that well-known statement from the Psalms which, in essence, says:
All children are wonderfully made.
We see it clearly in each of our grandchildren. They have unique gifts and interests, different kinds of intelligence, their own ways of responding in social situations, and yes, they have their own challenges and limitations as well.
Sometimes their unique qualities will line up quite nicely with ours and we’ll have a natural connection to them. And sometimes they are nothing like us, and it’s a real struggle to form a close bond.
In either case, one of the best ways to form close relationships with our grandkids is to notice what’s unique about each grandchild and then initiate things that will help them grow and learn, based on their interests.
I suggest that each grandparent take the time to reflect on each of our grandkids, at least once or twice a year, and focus on questions like this:
- How is he gifted?
- What makes her unique?
- What changes have I noticed in him over the past six to twelve months?
- What natural talent and abilities does she possess?
- How can these gifts be expressed in spite of her challenges?
- How can I adjust the environment to help him express his talents and abilities?
We love our grandkids and we are strong influences in their lives, but most of us are probably not caught up in the craziness of caring for them, feeding them, taking them places and answering their questions every day. We have time to reflect and plan, and possibly talk with a spouse about what we see.
Those insights about our grandkids can be valuable.
For one thing, they can be useful to our grandkids’ parents, who may not see them quite the same way or may not see a side of them that we see. At the right time and in the right way, we can share our perspective and benefit the parents.
Also, maybe best of all, the insights we gain can lead to a shared activity or connection point with our grandkids. Maybe there’s a a skill we can teach them, or sport or hobby we can encourage, help to finance, or get involved in with them. Maybe there’s something in our basement or attic that will nurture a growing interest. For sure, our grandkids’ interests can guide us toward activities that they will enjoy or that will expand their horizons. It could be a trip to a museum or an archery range, a tour of a business or sports arena, or a lunch with someone you know who’s an expert in a field of the grandchild’s interest.
Grandparents, it’s one thing to notice what makes each grandchild unique. Take it a step or two further and use that information to bless and encourage your grandkids.
Thank you for your faithful investments in the future!
How have you adjusted your approach because of a distinctive quality in your grandchild? Share your insights and learn from other grandparents at our Facebook page here.