How to Be an Intentional Grandparent
Have you ever come across a word that seems to jump out at you consistently? A word that causes you to sit up and take notice each time you hear it? This is one of those words for me. In fact, I believe I began taking particular notice of the word right around the time I realized I was a long-distance grandmother.
Intentional: done with intention or on purpose; intended. (Dictionary.com)
I have to chuckle at that definition because being a former Language Arts teacher and English major, I always stressed to my students never to use the word itself in a definition because if you don’t know what the word means in the first place using it in the definition certainly won’t help clarify things. So, let’s take a look at the definition of the root word.
Intention: an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result. (Dictionary.com)
Perhaps INTENTION has become a word for me because in my current season of life I am learning that the things that are truly important in my life require me to be INTENTIONAL about them. When I was a child, life just happened. There was no need for INTENTION because I had parents and other adults in my life to care for me. As a young mom, others were my responsibility, and I often found myself so busy trying to juggle everyone and everything that there was no time to be INTENTIONAL–about anything.
Now as an empty nester, the word is giving some shape to the second half of my life. From here, I can look back and see how time flies. My babies are grown and are parents of their own. My grandchildren are growing up so quickly. From here, I can also look back at all the times I had “good INTENTIONS” with no follow through because…. (Fill in the blank–time got away from me, I needed to drive someone somewhere, homework needed to be done, meals needed to be cooked, there was some type of event going on at church, I forgot. If you are in that season or have lived through that season, you get the idea.)
As God continues to bring this word to me now, one thing I notice in looking at the definition is that INTENTION is an act of determination. I must be deliberate. Putting my grandchildren on a calendar may seem cold or impersonal, but it makes sure that I don’t forget! The other thing I notice as I look at the definition of INTENTIONAL is that the act is done. I must follow through. “Good INTENTIONS” don’t show others the love of God if they remain just thoughts!
As a daughter of the King, my desire is to live a life of INTENTION.
INTENTION in my relationship with God, in my marriage, with my family, my friends, and in every area of my life including grandparenting.
What does it look like to be INTENTIONAL about grandparenting? For me, during the first few years of grandparenting all of my grandchildren lived far enough away that I wasn’t able to interact with them face-to-face on a daily basis. Being INTENTIONAL at that time, meant looking for ways to make connections and build relationships with them across the miles. Later on, INTENTION meant keeping a calendar with my grandchildren’s names on it to remind me to make some type of contact with them: mailing each a small item that was personal to them, sending notecards, or writing a story with them. INTENTION also became weekly Skype calls on the calendar so that we could “see” each other and talk about our week.
There are so many ways to be INTENTIONAL about our relationships with our grandchildren. Not only do we need to be INTENTIONAL about getting to know them and building relationships with them, but in modeling Godly marriages and passing along our love for God.
We also need to become INTENTIONAL about praying for our grandchildren. If our desire for them is that Satan’s schemes and powers toward them be stopped and God’s power and provision for them flow fully, we must pray. Not just INTEND to, but pray.
1. Form a group or at least grab a friend. Follow through is so much more likely if an accountability system is in place. By oneself, it’s so easy to put things off until they are nothing more than “good INTENTIONS.”
2. Put it on the calendar. Whether the calendar event is a weekly meeting with your Grandparenting Prayer Group, a check in with your internet prayer circle, or each grandchild’s name on a different day reminding you to lift him/her up purposely that day.
3. Pray specifically. Pray for physical, spiritual, and emotional protection. Pray that your grandchild would recognize evil in this world. Pray that they would be strong in their faith resisting the enemy. Pray that each grandchild would come to see themself as God sees them and be aware of His presence with them.
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