Are you looking for an excellent resource for new grandparents as well as those who have been grandparenting for years? Discipling Your Grandchildren: Great Ideas to Help Them Know, Love, and Serve God by Dr. Josh Mulvihill with Jen Mulvihill and Linda Weddle is a wonderful paperback book that will help grandparents focus beyond the fun and spoiling to make the time spent with their grandchildren more meaningful. It is written from the perspective of two parents and a grandparent of six grandchildren. Discipling Your Grandchildren is the seventh book in the Grandparenting Matters series and is biblically-based. (I previously reviewed Grandparenting: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith in the series. Find my review here: Book Review of Grandparenting.)
What Does the Book Address?
The book is written to "help grandparents align their grandparenting practices with stated spiritual priorities and biblical principles" (18). The authors start by examining briefly what the Bible says about grandparenting and then goes on to look at the various ways grandparents can connect with their grandchildren.
How to Connect?
The book provides many ways in which grandparents can connect with their grandchildren and provides specific examples through the following topics:
- Intentional meals
- Teaching God's Word
- Serving together
- Building relationships
- Preparing your home for your grandchildren
- Staring groups in your church
- Celebrating the holidays together
At the heart of all of the suggestions is the desire to be respectful to the wishes of the grandparents' adult children. While there are many awesome ideas and suggestions (like a Nerf gun war or a rubber band battle), grandparents should ask their children what is or is not appropriate to do with their grandchildren. The authors also remind grandparents to seek the advice and permission of their adult children before planning missionary trips or other overnight opportunities to do with their grandchildren.
I also highly appreciated the notations in the chapter regarding holidays such as "recognize that while you want to establish traditions with your grandchildren, your children also want to establish family traditions" (157). I think that many grandparents would benefit from being reminded of the fact their adult children might like to do things within their own immediate family or that there might be in-laws who have family traditions, too.
What Do I Think?
Even though I am not a grandparent, I can appreciate the variety of ideas – including recipes, book ideas, ways to memorize the Bible together, and more – that is presented in Discipling Your Grandchildren. Some of the ideas I can incorporate into our family as a parent and some I can even offer as suggestions when my in-laws ask to do something with our children. I also was happy to see that homeschooling families were not left out (as they so often are in books about parenting or grandparenting). There are a few suggestions as to how grandparents can support their grandchildren if they are being homeschooled. Finally, I also loved the numerous social media tips provided. Many grandparents might shy away from social media but their grandchildren do not. The book provides ideas as to how to get onto the various sites as well as a reminder to ask ones' grandchildren for help and assistance.
I would recommend Discipling Your Grandchildren: Great Ideas to Help Them Know, Love, and Serve God to grandparents who are looking to build a closer relationship with their grandchildren and in turn connect their grandchildren to God. While you may not be able to employ all the ideas presented in the book, there are many practical recommendations that grandparents may be able to incorporate into their everyday lives with their grandchildren.