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Linking Generations: How to Activate Your Father Power

Written by Leland Griffin

Date Posted: Saturday, 28 April 2007

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Showing them respect as parents will earn us opportunities to make suggestions when they realize they need them, but unless there is some developmental problem that they're overlooking, it's best to let young parents learn on their own. We weren't A+ parents either, so if our kids are C to B+ parents and they're not dysfunctional, we need to take a back seat and become cheerleaders, even if we don't always agree with them.

MAINTAIN A SENSE OF FAMILY

I want my grandkids to know their aunts and uncles, to see that strong marriages run in the family, and to watch generations relating to each other. Some grandfathers go too far and place guilt trips: "If you want to be part of this family, you get those kids here by Christmas Eve." Others, in an effort to avoid making demands, communicate apathy: "Well, stop by when you can."

There is a happy medium. Let them know their presence is important and still be flexible: "We'd like to have everyone together during Christmas break. We'll make the plans and cook the turkey, but let's make sure and get together. When can you make it?" Show the entire clan-including grandchildren-that in your family, togetherness is important.

SPEND INDIVIDUAL TIME WITH EACH GRANDCHILD

Just like with fathering, in-depth relationships are built during time alone with each child. Sometimes we have to trust that our values will be transmitted through the generations, but we also have opportunities to do it directly. When I'm alone with one of my granddaughters, that's when she's most "herself." There's no competition with her sister, and no consequences to worry about from her parents. That allows her to listen better and ask more thoughtful questions. When it's just the two of us, she's much more open to learn.

And, of course, individual time with grandchildren is rewarding in itself. A fool-proof method for resurrecting new hope in a discouraged, pessimistic heart is to allot special time to play with children. Little creatures who have their eyes fixed on tomorrow can make a gnarled veteran of life's wars forget the pain of past failures and believe in the future again.

 

Leland Griffin is a pastor and counselor, a father of two and grandfather of 5. He and Janet, his wife of 48 years, live in Grand Junction, Colorado.


 
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