One question that gnaws at the gut of all grandparents is this, “How can I leave a legacy for my kids?” The written word is powerful. Certainly, it’s important to speak words of blessing and encouragement to our grandsons and granddaughters, but writing has the potential to last much longer since words can be saved and read over and over again. The written word has power to shape and encourage our grandchildren and build a lasting family legacy. Short notes, journal entries, letters and even e-mails can be great tools to keep in touch and affirm our grandchildren.
Write a Journal
One great way of doing this is by keeping a written journal for each grandchild. Just get a book of blank pages and write about what’s happening in your family’s life; or the joys of being a grandparent; your hopes and dreams for your grandchild as he or she grows; or the important values and beliefs you want to pass on. And, don’t skimp. Spend a few bucks to get a nice bound-or even leather-volume.
Start when your grandchildren are born, or if your grandkids are older, it’s never too late. You can write every day, or once a week. More realistically, record your thoughts on birthdays or holidays, and at special events like graduations, significant “firsts” in their lives, or a time when they’re embarking on a new venture or taking a step of faith. Or, it could simply be a time when something specific is on your heart. Including the date will give it even more long-term impact-like a family record.
This simple practice will help build a legacy of blessing that your grandchild can look back on years from now. Not to mention great-grandchildren and descendants that you may never see. I think you’ll find it will also help you gain perspective on your own feelings and challenges as a grandparent. Just sit down and write what’s on your heart. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Be simple and clear.
Don’t underestimate the impact of letters when you’re separated from your grandchild. E-mail has its advantage, and we should use it to bless our grandchildren often. But even though it takes time and effort, don’t neglect letters.
Be funny, creative, challenging, and affirming. Send a reminder that you’re thinking about them, and encourage them in specific ways. A letter like that packs a big punch!
You might also try a chain letter. As the leader of the clan, you can start it. Write a short note about what’s going on in your life, and maybe add a special note for each grandchild. Send it to the next family member and ask her to add a few lines at the bottom. Provide postage, so she can keep it circulating. In a few weeks, you’ll have a written record that may go down in your family’s history. You can do this on the Internet also, but again, handwritten words are more likely to be cherished and saved.
Those are a few ideas. Maybe you have better ones that work for your family. But I urge you to write often to your grandchildren. Think of it this way: something you write today could give your grandchild the encouragement and guidance he needs, whether it’s today or ten years from today. Or, who knows, it could impact your descendants a century from now.