Thanks for joining us again as we work our way through the Legacy Coalition, “My Declaration” for Grandparents to unpack key ideas in being a grandparent who will guide their grandchildren to know and love Jesus by example.
Today’s topic is abounding in affection. Being an intentional Christian grandparent is a multi-faceted role. You are maneuvering the weighty responsibility of passing the faith which is a serious matter, but the old saying comes to mind that, “people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”
Affection is so much more than care, although it certainly is that. It is showing fondness, tenderness and love. The Declaration says to “abound” in your affection. This won’t happen by accident, so you must make plans to shower your grandchildren with tenderness and love.
I had one grandmother for whom this came very naturally. She was warm and bubbly. I could tell she always enjoyed spending time with me from the time I was very small. Children can tell when they are being enjoyed! Her husband, my grandfather, was a gruff man. He worked hard and he didn’t use a lot of words. And yet, I knew he abounded in affection toward me as well. It seemed he always had time to play and loved treating me with little gifts or special experiences.
I never knew my maternal grandfather. His wife, my other grandmother was a nice woman, but she never seemed entirely comfortable around me. She was not particularly affectionate and part of that was the way she was raised, I’m sure. As I grew older, our relationship grew to be a beautiful one, but we didn’t have the depth of relationship that we would have if I had felt she had a tenderness toward me when I was a child.
Real life examples are always helpful. They can certainly be instructive although we know they are not prescriptive. I share my story because my precious grandparents each had very different personalities and life experiences. And isn’t that true for each and every one of us? Our personality or our upbringing should never be an excuse to avoid affection, especially with those closest to us.
Jesus loved the little children! (Luke 18:16) And if we are to be like Jesus, we must love children God puts in our lives and point them to His love and goodness and grace.
Abounding affection will look different in the various relationships we have with grandchildren. I know of a grandmother who writes each of her grandchildren a card EVERY WEEK. I know a grandfather who takes his grandchildren on special outings… not just to “babysit” but to have fun together. Whether you are physically close in proximity to your grandchildren or not, you can show your affection by words you speak and things you do.
How have you received affection… as a child? As a young adult? As a spouse? As a grandparent? What have you learned as a Christ-follower that can help you to abound in your affection? Ask God to help you be the kind of grandparent who abounds in affection and is known for enjoying the company of their grandchildren no matter their age or personality.