Staying in Step

Photo by Ceci Bravo on Unsplash

Step-grandparents are the real deal. That day when I became one years ago is clearly etched in my memory. My husband and I were returning home from an out-of-town event when my phone buzzed to life with the eagerly anticipated news: our grandson had arrived. It was a highly emotional moment.

Getting to know a child from birth is an entirely different experience than marrying a single father who already has a son. Painful losses happen in kids’ lives when their families split. Without question, stepparents play a pivotal role in family dynamics. It takes time and patience to build a relationship, and that includes relationships we have with children. I would probably be a better step-mom if a “do over” were possible. But now, I focus on doing my best as the parent of an adult.

That said, being a grandparent is one of many blessings that resulted from sticking with it through thick and thin. My grandson doesn’t care that we’re not genetically linked. He only cares that I am a safe, loving grandmother. That probably explains why our guest bedroom has morphed into his second bedroom. It’s all part of staying in step.

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A Lesson From the Squirrels

photo-8The squirrels are at it again. They’re on the neighbor’s bush munching away at the few remaining seed pods. Thing is, this untrimmed bush only has a few spindly branches with most of the seeds dangling 20 feet off the ground. The branches are so thin they bow and sway under the weight of the squirrels when they scamper up to reach the seeds.

But there the squirrels sit, eating lunch with their hind feet and tails tightly wrapped around a skinny branch, balancing against occasional bursts of wind like seasoned acrobats. Squirrels have a reputation for getting what they want regardless of obstacles. These squirrels have their seeds, and they have a valuable lesson to share. It’s called persistence.

If something is important, I mean really important, you must be willing to work for it. That’s true of education and career choices, and it’s especially true about what we do for our families. Congratulations to everyone who has traded personal convenience to provide children with food, clothing, shelter, health care, swimming lessons, music lessons, and on and on. But, there is another far more important investment to be made for children. It is an investment in their spiritual well being. How are you sharing your faith values with them?

Kids need to know how faith in Christ applies to them. One of the most engaging ways to disciple children about God is to talk about Him through their lives. Use their accomplishments, failures, and frustrations to share what you have learned about joy, sorrow, and dependence on God. Write little messages, telling them how God has answered your prayers on their behalf, how you are now praying for their future.

It only takes a few minutes to jot down your thoughts, a minute more to find life-giving words in the Bible to support them. Sharing your faith with younger generations is more than a good idea, it’s a directive from God. Be persistent. Give children food that lasts an eternity.

“One generation shall commend your [God’s] works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” – Psalm 145:4