By Jodi Brook - Grow Ministries Director
Studies continue to confirm that parents are the most influential faith nurturers in the lives of their children. This means that one of the best places for young people to ‘catch’ faith is in the home. Research also reveals that grandparents also play a vital role in a child’s faith formation.
During this time of Covid-19, for some grandparents, being separated from their grandchildren is heartbreaking. It’s not only difficult, but we also know that there are wonderful health benefits for older adults when they spend time with younger generations.
When grandparents are actively involved in the lives of their grandchildren these times can provide an opportunity for them to share their faith.
Here are some ideas of how grandparents can keep connected when they can’t physically be together:
- Read a book or play a game online together.
- Teach them one of your favourite recipes (Maybe you could be adventurous enough to even cook together at the same time while you are online. Make sure you have enough time and of course the ingredients.)
- Write letters to each other, sharing stories from your childhood. Children love hearing stories from the ‘good old days’, it helps them to understand where they come from and where they belong.
- Organise to listen to their music practice or even help them with their homework.
- For grandchildren with access to smartphones, text each other or send an email.
- Find a way to have them share their highs and lows of the day with you. Commit to pray about these things.
- Organise a video catch-up with multiple grandchildren.
- Invite your grandkids to a video morning tea or meal.
Grandparents have such an important role to play in the church. They bring wisdom and knowledge to our younger generations.
If you are not a grandparent, consider reaching out to some of the younger members of your congregation as a mentor. It is a good idea to check with your congregational leaders first, as they may be able to help identify a suitable person.
‘Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.’ Deuteronomy 32:17
Below is a story of a Grandma who shares how she has stayed connected with her grandchildren during this time...
My thoughts of being a Grandmother during COVID 19, 2020.
I am 78 years of age and have 15 wonderful grandchildren, ranging from ages 11 to 22 years of age. There are 10 granddaughters and 5 grandsons.
I wanted to stay in touch during this time of isolation so decided to write a letter to each of them. Some I have emailed, but mostly I have written a special card or note to them. I know that some will have difficulty in reading my hand writing as they are not used to seeing that, and it is a bit "old fashioned" for them. I enjoy receiving a hand written letter back and they often do reply.
Modern technology allowed us to all join in a " Zoom" six-family gathering on-line for Mother’s Day, that was very special.
I hope they have enjoyed hearing from me through a written card or letter. I have enjoyed writing to each of them.
One grandson, 18 years old, is unable to understand a letter or card due to his disabilities, so I sewed a pair of long pyjama pants for him, with blue spots and pink whales!!! I hope he can enjoy wearing them.
Even though we have been separated for a few weeks, I feel as if we have stayed close. I thank God for that.