Do you ever wonder what your child or grandchild needs most and how to give him or her those gifts that will last a life time? We all want what’s best for our kids. We want them to have high values such as kindness, faith, honesty, honor, perseverance, hard work, giving and sharing. We want our kids to get a good education and yes, most of us – at least grandparents – like to give our kids gifts from time to time. Things that we know they want or will enjoy even if those things only last for a little while. But do you ever wonder, have a I given enough? How can I truly give my kids those things that really matter? How can I help them grow in their relationship with Jesus? Am I really giving my kids what they need? Am I leaving a legacy?Believe me, I have asked myself those questions and am still asking myself those questions. As a grandparent, I’ve added another question to the list – Am I relevant? Will my grandkids learn anything from me or will I just be that funny grandma who gave them outdated gifts and didn’t really know what was going on? In other words, how can I leave a legacy? What matters most as I parent and now as I grandparent? Hey God, am I even remotely doing a good job loving these ones you have placed in my family tree? Perhaps I will never fully know the answer to that question this side of heaven, but I do know that I love them all dearly and I truly want what is best for each of them. I also know that they all still like to be around me, at least I think they do most of the time, so I must be doing something right. Whatever I have done right, I give God the glory for. It’s because of His grace and love towards me, that I can gracefully give and share with my family and others.
You see, when those questions arise and when I feel weak, vulnerable and irrelevant, that’s when I look to God the most. In my weakness, I’ve cried out to God for wisdom and strength to love like He loves and parent in a way that would bring Him honor. He has given me creative ideas and He has walked this journey with me. You see, He knows all about parenting because He is our Father God. I sometimes wonder if the best prayer a parent can pray is, “Oh God, help!”
So what can I give to my kids? More about this in the sidebar, for now let’s just say, I can give them me, just as I am and I can let them see that I too, that I desperately need Jesus. In the midst all my imperfections, I hope that I can show them love and grace – maybe that is what they need the most.
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Father God, Looking back over my life, I can definitely see times that I blew it as a parent. Yes, I really did love my kids, but I also argued a lot with them when I should have listened and yes, I lost my temper sometimes. Perhaps we could have taken more vacations and built more memories and there were a few times that I let them get by with things that I shouldn’t have. Still, Lord, you have been so faithful. When I cried out to you, you made up the difference. You helped me see what my kids needed most and you have been there not only for me, but for my kids over and over again. I know you have answered my prayers and I am so thankful. Lord, as my grandkids grow up and as the generations keep going on, keep us. Keep us all firmly rooted in your love and grace. Teach us to show your love and grace to others, to give and to share because you gave everything for us. Lord, I pray, help! I need your help, my kids need your help and my grandkids need your help. We trust you and seek you in prayer. Teach us to pray more and teach us to love more, because you love us. Amen
WHAT KIDS NEED MOST
- Time – You, your time. They need to know that you love them and care for them enough to be there for them. Not every single minute of every day, of course. After all you do have to go to work, but they need to know they can count on you.
- A listening ear – How often do we let busyness and our myriad list of responsibilities take over until we have no time left to listen. Kids delight in knowing that they are watched and heard. Did you ever see a young child trying something new? As they play, they call out, “Watch me!”, because it is so important to them to be able to show someone the new skill they have learned or perfected. LISTEN!
- Consistent discipline – They need to know what you expect, what the rules are and that those rules will be enforced in a loving manner. Sometimes that may mean a natural consequence – If they spill their milk, then they clean it up to the best of their ability, Consistent discipline can be a simple reminder, a time out or loss of a privilege, etc. Most of all it needs to be consistent.
- Kids need to feel secure to build a sense of trust. When their needs are met and they know they are cared for and protected from harm, then they will find it much easier to trust that God loves them. Going back to discipline, when a child is lovingly disciplined; when they have some rules and boundaries to guide them, this also helps them feel secure.
- I’m adding this one even though it probably doesn’t make the top ten – Fun! If kids know that life can be fun, enjoyable and that you can laugh at yourself, bouncing back from adversity will be easier and it also helps you form a lasting bond with your kids. They know that you enjoy spending time with them and interacting with them.
Things Can You Do With Your Child
SHARE A STORY:
Do you know why God sent Jesus to the world? Yes, it’s because He loves us so much. (Give self a hug.) Jesus was born as a baby, but He grew and grew just like you are growing. (Show growing up with hands.) When He grew up, He told many people about His Father God. He made sick people well and He told about how much God loves us. (Give self a hug.) One day Jesus died on a cross. Jesus died because He loves us so much. (Give self a hug.) He died to rescue us from sin. Jesus gave Himself because He loved us so much.
Did Jesus stay dead? No, He didn’t! Something very wonderful happened because Jesus can do anything! Yes, anything! Jesus came back alive again. Early one morning when some women went to the tomb (Put hands together like a cave or tomb.) where Jesus had been buried, they found that Jesus wasn’t there! Where was Jesus? (Throw hands out to the side as thought puzzled.) An angel told them, “Jesus is not here. He is alive!“ He had come back to life again.
Jesus is alive today and wants to be your forever friend. He wants to rescue you or forgive you from sin. Sin is the wrong things we do and the bad choices that we make. Sin is disobeying God. It’s doing what we want to do instead of what God wants. Even though you can’t see Jesus, you can ask Him to be your friend. He loves you, He hears you and He will always be with you. Let’s thank Him for being such a good friend. You can tell your friends that Jesus is alive and wants to be their friend too. He is a very special friend! He loves you so much. Jesus was happy to give and happy to share because He loved. He gave everything for you and that’s a very special gift. You can be happy to give and share too, because Jesus loves you. He will help you share His love with your friends.
Dear Jesus,Thank you for loving me enough to die for me. I’m glad that you want to be my forever friend and that you are always with me. I want you to forgive me and I welcome you as my friend. Help me to love you and to love others with all my heart. Amen
MEMORIZE: 1 Tim. 6:18 ERV – (Hold hands open as though holding a book.)
Be happy, – (Show big smile)
To give – (Hands outwards)
And ready – (Wave hands outward like a music director.)
To share – (Pretend to take something out of your hand to give to someone.)
KNOW: Jesus gave Himself because He loves me.
TALK ABOUT: Jesus wants to be my friend forever.
ASK: Why did Jesus come to earth? Because He loves me.
AND DO: I can ask Jesus to be my forever friend and I can thank Him.
* Go outside and enjoy nature. As you are enjoying the trees, flowers and all the beauty around you; thank God for sending Jesus to be your friend. Remember that Jesus is with you everywhere you go. Talk to Him as you take your nature walk.
* Answer this question as a family, “What’s amazing about your friend, Jesus?” Celebrate and give thanks because Jesus is a very good friend. Jesus gave everything, what can we dare to share and give this week?
PS This last week I had fun with five of my grandkids at our church’s summer camp or VBC – as we call it. They learned gratitude, empathy, purpose and promise as we explored “God in the Wilderness”. They also raised money for Vine Maple Place, a local ministry to homeless families. They served their families dinner at their own restaurant, worked together, watched movies together, went swimming in our small pool, had ice-cream and mostly learned about how God is always with us. I love this week that I get to spend with them every year. I am truly blessed!
Reciprocate when you can and help someone else.