Grandparents have been around the block a few times. Hopefully, that translates into wisdom and godly character. Grandparents are in a powerful position to influence their grandchildren in meaningful ways that produce good character.
A quality character is evidenced by a life of prudence (good judgment and self-discipline), knowledge and virtue. In other words, wisdom produces character. But wisdom doesn’t come automatically. It is the fruit of faithful instruction and warning about that which corrupts character.
I absolutely believe the most important thing grandparents (or parents) can teach their children and grandchildren is what it means to know, love and follow Christ with their whole heart. Why? Because Christ embodies wisdom and what true character looks like.
The character that gives glory to God is undeniably shaped by the Gospel through the study of God’s Word, prayer and the example of other believers. The process of fleshing out those truths that produce godly character occur through teachable moments.
Seven Character Builders
Here are seven character builders that grandparents ought to teach their grandchildren:
1. Teach them to read good books. When my grandkids were young, I loved to read to them and encourage them to read as well. You can give them a love for reading, help them hone their reading skills, and give them a taste of good literature that is both entertaining and cultivates the mind. Do a book review together. Find ways to motivate them to read (rewards are not out of the question). Take an interest in what they are reading.
2. Teach them about your family heritage. Work on a family tree together, share some of your personal stories as a child and young adult, and remind them of their lineage and how it has shaped who they are. Write a legacy journal or do an ancestry album so they have some tangible reminder of their heritage.
3. Teach them some personal skills that you are good at. What are some skills you could pass on to your grandchildren—cooking/baking, gardening, knitting, sewing, woodworking, basic auto mechanics skills, art, a musical instrument, etc.? Perhaps they have little interest in that skill, but that doesn’t mean you can’t at least introduce them to it. You never know how they will respond until you give them the opportunity to experience it.
4. Teach them good manners and proper etiquette. We are society given to rudeness and crudeness. Many children and young adults have never been trained in manners or etiquette, which are simply expressions of respect and honor for others. Many know little about politeness such as rising from a seat when guests arrive, saying ‘thank you’ when someone is kind, opening a door for a woman or an elderly person as an expression of respect, saying “Yes, sir” or “Yes, Ma’am”, or genuinely listening to someone without being preoccupied with their smartphone. Teach them manners, but explain why they are valuable.
GRANDPAUSE: No amount of riches can atone for poverty of character. —Unknown