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Grandparents, stay in the game

When I was asked to write a book to grandparents (Faith Begins At Home Grandparents) I wasn't sure where to begin, as I'm not a grandparent, so I decided to survey over 200 grandparents, where I asked them one simple question: "What prevents you from being a spiritual influence in the lives of your adult children and grandchildren?" When the responses came in, what surfaced were two tactics that I believe Satan uses to keep grandparents out of the game as spiritual influences and five specific roadblocks. The two tactics, that run across all the roadblocks, are the undertone of guilt and fear.

Guilt: Many grandparents don't feel they can be a spiritual influence because they feel guilty about something they did or didn't do when their children were younger, and as a result they don't feel they can say or do anything now, as they would come across hypocritical. If you're allowing guilt to keep you out of the game I want you to know that God's grace is greater than your guilt. So you may not have been the perfect parent; join the club! None of us were, and we all wish we could've done things differently now that we know better. Thankfully, we serve a God of grace and second chances, and at the end of the day you'll always be the most influential person in the lives of your adult children and hold a key place of influence as a grandparent, which is why Satan tries guilt you out of the game. Don't fall for his lies, and realize that through God's grace your sins are covered. Get back in the game!

Fear: Many grandparents are afraid they may not do it right, say it right, or that things have changed so much they simply don't feel their ways are relevant or matter anymore. Friends, fear paralyzes and prevents us from engaging, and we worry way too much about what might happen rather than simply engaging and not letting fear prevent us from doing so. When you are "in Christ" there should be no fear because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, so don't let fear keep you out of the game.

Now that we have identified the two primary tactics Satan uses to keep grandparents out of the game, let's look at the five roadblocks many grandparents encounter.

• Distance — We live in a mobile world whereby hundreds - if not thousands - of miles can put distance between grandparents and their children and grandchildren. Thankfully, through advances in technology we can overcome the distance roadblock.

• Apprehension — Many grandparents are concerned that their desire to be a spiritual influence may not be welcomed or appreciated for a variety of reasons. Yet apprehension can be overcome if we clearly communicate what we want to do and seek permission to do so which honors the parents.

• Unresolved Conflict — Some grandparents face an unresolved conflict that happened in the past between themselves and their adult child. This unresolved conflict has made it difficult for them to connect with their grandchildren. This too can be overcome but requires a spirit of humility and "right attitude" to be willing to bury the hatchet and do whatever it takes to resolve the conflict.

• Busyness — Parents are busy, the grandchildren are busy and so are the grandparents, and that's because we live in a busy, busy, busy world that is only getting busier. Yet busyness can be overcome by seizing teachable moments and enjoying what time you get, rather than lamenting over what you didn't get, and making the most of it.

• Feelings of inadequacy — And finally, some grandparents struggle to engage because they simply feel inadequate to do so because things have changed so much. The only constant in this world is change, yet feeling "behind" or a little out of touch can be overcome when you become the student with your grandchildren rather than the teacher. Let them teach and show you, and when they do, those experiences will be greater than your inadequacies.

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