Imagine being a parent of young children once more. How would you feel if you learned that every time you left your kids with a certain babysitter, that babysitter was brainwashing your children with stuff completely contrary to what you were trying to teach them? That’s what is taking place more often than we like to think through social media.
As grandparents we have a more limited opportunity to help counter some of the lies that are often propagated on social media, but what opportunities we have can make a difference. In her book, Guardians of Purity, Julie Harimine identifies six of those lies that as grandparents we also need to know. As Julie comments in her book, “Underlying the enemy’s lies is the one that says God is not enough for me, and I am not complete unless I have someone or something else.”
- I’m worthless unless someone is attracted to me.
- I must be in a ‘relationship’ to be accepted by peers.
- Everyone else is doing it.
- I’m defined by what others think of me.
- I’m not complete unless I’m in a romantic relationship.
- Casual romantic relationships won’t hurt me.
Each of these lies creep into the constant messages proliferated through social media, peers, Hollywood, contemporary music, and romantic novels. They falsely declare that real satisfaction can only be found in some kind of incredible romantic relationship. This is especially dangerous thinking for young girls. Perhaps we have contributed to this empty and futile thinking as adults in the way in which we model and discuss romance.
Putting Romantic Love Back to Sleep
To counter this lie, we need to, as Julie says, “put romantic love back to sleep” by stressing the importance of cultivating Christ as our first love.
How do we do that as grandparents? Here are a few thoughts from Julie Harimine’s book that I have adapted for grandparents so you can help your grandchildren be better equipped to identity those lies and reject them for something much better and infinitely more satisfying.
- Be intentional about telling your grandchildren, beginning at a very young age, the grand love story that God has written for mankind and has planned for them. Let’s warn our granddaughters especially about the dangers of living a fantasy world of romantic love rather than in the reality of God’s true love story and grand purposes for them. Remind them that God is writing an amazing love story specifically for them, but it needs to be understood in the context of our intimate relationship with God, our Creator.
- Help your grandkids develop a taste and hunger for God. How? Awaken in them a love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Here are some ways to do that:
- Read the Gospels with them whenever you have a chance. Talk about what you read. Encourage them to read all the New Testament on their own as well.
- Turn off the TV while at your house, at least for programs with any sexual or unbiblical romance content. Use the time to do a creative activity that lends itself to conversations about life. For teens, a movie night might be a good option if you watch one of the many good films that promote a biblical worldview. Talk about what you watched by asking questions about the values presented and how they differ from what Hollywood produces. Which will lead to the best outcome?
- Ask them what messages they are learning from social media or among their peers. If they are not homeschooled, ask what it is like walking the hallways of their school. What sexual or romantic pressures do they experience?
- Take every opportunity to affirm their intrinsic value, not based upon how they look or how they perform, but who they are as a child made in the image of God. This not about telling them how great they are or how attractive they are. It is about affirming their worth as a person that you value, God values, and for whom you want to invest yourself to help them be all that God longs for them to be.
Don’t Underestimate Your Impact
You may not have the same impact that your grandchildren’s parents have, but your impact must not be underestimated. As their parents, your adult children deserve all the help you can give. However, we need to recognize that this is not the same world you and I grew up in. So, let’s be observant, teachable and intentional… for our grandchildren’s sake.
And above all, pray! Pray for wisdom to understand the world your grandchildren are required to navigate and how to speak into that world. Pray for courage to be intentional and gracious. Pray for protection from the schemes of the devil, for he is relentless. And pray that your grandchildren will understand how much they are loved and valued because of who they are, not how they conform to worldly views.
GRANDPAUSE: Underlying the enemy’s lies is the one that says God is not enough for me, and I am not complete unless I have someone or something else. -Julie Harimine