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Connecting With Your Grandchildren

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
April 29, 2022 6:00 am

Connecting With Your Grandchildren

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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April 29, 2022 6:00 am

Cheri Fuller discusses the important role grandparents play in their grandchildren’s lives. She offers ideas and tips for engaging the grandkids in fun ways and also methods to stay in touch with children who are far away.

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What I like about my grandma. We learned in so like Monica like it when the damages for W. A. P. Precious kids about their grandparents, and I really like that we have so many fond comments that really does get some of the best fight. After some parts of grandparenting to talk about that today on Focus on the Family with your host focus president Jim Daly I'm John Fuller and Jim as those kids were speaking. I was thinking about going to my grandparents farm in South Dakota. All sorts of days exploring and playing Scrabble with my grandma and shooting at 22 is my grandfather out of the back of a pickup truck while memory is that I'm in a hold onto for life. It sounds like fun and you know we have the same for Trenton Troy they'll have the memory of being with Jean's dad there grandfather and going to the doughnut shop there in Southern California that was a routine and they still talk about that today, one of the warm memories I have no grandparenting can be really fun. That's what grandparents do they do so much more than that and today were going to discuss how you as a grandparent can get closer to your grandkids for all kinds of good reasons including spiritual and emotional development will also address how to manage that with your adult children as well and as we do this will return to a conversation that we recorded a while back with cherry Fuller and she is passionate about grandparenting she's a speaker she's written 45 books and is the executive director of the okay messages project which helps the children of prisoners and so premature whole life is about kids. One of the books that Sherry has written is called connect with your grandkids, fun ways to bridge the miles. It includes hundreds of great ideas. Let's go ahead and get into that conversation.

Now Jerry, it's great to have you back focus. Jim and John.

It's great to be here. It's really fun to be cherry.

We gotta get to have a grandkids you have, that's where it's got to start sure we had our first five grandchildren and five and half years with three families and so we have six grandchildren, three boys and three girls all but to have lived away at some time in their life for an extended period and the coming and that's what Caitlin thought up the eldest grandchild the first antenna and so as I share and connect with your grandkids. When Josephine are fourth grandchild. She was born in three weeks later because our son was going to serve his internship at Bethesda Naval Hospital India in the DC area and so as they got on that plane at that city airport I prayed, God, help me to stay connected with little Josephine and all my grandchildren. No matter where they live, and that's one of the big struggles for grandparents that oftentimes with the mobility of our culture right grandkids are living nearby. How do you shorten that gap. I mean if you live in Oklahoma and your grandkids are out there.

Marilyn Linton why Chicago is a little more and that in Milwaukee and now they live in Southlake, Texas which is only three hours south of the house is a grandparent how you close that gap is that much, does not tell you. First of all I didn't have a grid for grandparenting I started at Ground Zero. I started with the prayer I was still working full time.

I was still speaking about twice a month. Somewhere in the country or in another country and but I really I mean I have a great desire to have a connection with my grandchildren and so I began collecting ideas when King was born all the way which I just packed this book with every idea ever heard or came up with myself to do exactly that, whether they live close to what you know whether they live down the street, whether they live across the world. A country grandkids live near you right now which by the way you're very blessed and you're very fortunate you have a time that because of jobs they have to move away and they grow up. So what does this will sound silly, but Granny's magic bag when I was speaking in Thailand one time a grandmother there had a granddaughter who was four and lived in Kansas City and so the night market and I was speaking there I matter and she is precious and she said I want to give you an idea for something I've done with my granddaughter that she let's I'm all ears and she said it's Granny's magic back and says she found one in the night market and she explained that whenever she's with her granddaughter. She always finds little things throughout the year. Whether it's at the Dollar Tree whether it's a target in the one dollar whatever did little things that would interest her, fascinate her and so when she was with her little granddaughter she'd have it Granny's magic back with her and she'd say Audrey would you like to pick something out of Granny's magic back so it builds up the sense of surprise and expectation.

She always knows all the grandmother lives across the world and she sees or maybe two times a year, and it keeps her busy in restaurants. It's a fun thing so I had 90s magic bag for interested and another thing is I've always sent packages and letters to my grandchildren. Now I text them because they all have iPhones let me ask you this, though the difficulty and again that is the sweet spot for grandparenting is your will do these fun things with the grandkids that can create some friction with the your adult kids were the parents a lot of parents with some grandparents.

They might feel that when they show up they do overindulge and they have to work hard after grandma leaves to cherry bring that child back into orbit and it could be lots of different nouns can go in there can be a lot of sugar sure a lot of stimulus a lot of trips. So how do you how do you manage that you talk to your adult children and say will this be okay DS permission. How do you how do you decide how the grandparenting will work. He said he didn't have a framework I didn't.

My grandparents were very, very old and they were precious. They were very old and I mean I just couldn't do that much with us until more in very poor health, and they all died by the time I was in high school and then the last one died when I just started college, but I went address that insane. First of all there's a balance and this is much more about relationship than it's about things are sugar our trips now.

They also set boundaries on this generation. Parents are much better at setting boundaries mean, if they don't want you to give them a lot of sugar. I'm not to do that make those parents mad their child asked about his respect the boundaries and the sum of the thickness. So many of the ideas in this book and that I did with my grandchildren are such doable down-home ideas. I mean I don't have a lot of money to take them to Paris and you know to do all these lavish things, but I took and I had a grandparent passed to the zoo.

So when they were when they had time and you know I take him to the zoo for an outing. We have a picnic when it come to my house.

I would or I went to the house I would always have the treasure hunt and I made up clues with little pieces of paper like this and it would lead, and it was good for the rating scales. By the way they had to decode the message and I use some little pictures and words. If they were three and they would look all over the house and outside for this treasure hunt to find the treasure. It might be a book I was giving him. It might be some things for their hair. If their little girls might be in our football for the boys wasn't anything big and expensive. I also always wanted to get the cousins together. In other words, the six grandchildren, so they'd have a relationship. So when ever I could I would get all of them together within reason. When they were around, and when we could. And that's why said I would take them all to the zoo and I take pictures I have taken hundreds of pictures my grandchildren and most parents do. Now I can build my iPhone.

Every Christmas if they were to be there for Christmas I buy two I'm not you like best baker in the whole world. I tried it. The walls fell apart.

So I would buy two big gingerbread houses that were not decorated and then I buy all the candy and all the icing and weed the girls against the boys. They love competition and I would decorate these and that would be for Christmas. That was the centerpiece of the get that you them is the question handy if they wanted more interested snake a little candy or to become more interested in getting decorated and winning the prize, and then always for Easter. We had a big egg decorating night the night before Easter and we again had a contest. All the parents, the grandparents, aunts, and the children all decorated eggs. I just had to be creative because I wanted to picnic with my grandchildren and I've read to them. So many books I have a little book that I tell about and connect with your grandkids on in the whole building helping to build their faith just contributing to their spiritual development, which I feel like is a wonderful role. Grandparents can half not by being overbearing, but by sharing Jesus Jim.

I love that idea of making a written connection with your grandchild through that book.

Just as you're saying that Yuri I'm thinking I still have a book for my grandmother on my dad saw him on my dad's mom. She gave it to me when I was about five years old. I still have so that there's a real deep connection always means more signed if it's autographed by the author by the giver chair I want to play an audio clip is a funny little capture that we are really good that's a humorous story from one grandmother whose talking about assuring a special time with her granddaughter looks point get your response. When I arrived in the living rotated at her personal table and chairs waiting for grandma laughed and laughed for about 1/2 hour and finally the teapot was empty. Finally, I thought. I think her and commented how much fun that what we should do it again sometime. He replied grandma will do it all over again.

I swallowed hard and with a reluctant smile agreed to pick up the pot and headed out to fill it again. Michelina, how you you not tall enough to reach the kitchen sink that out of the toilet bowl. I promised myself never to attend another tea party with Michelina college now and we laughed many times about her famous tea party is one committed grandmother and resourceful granddaughter as you say run well and it reminds me that I've always with my granddaughters and grandsons when they were young and enjoyed it. I would have what's called method their tea parties and the monthly bears with these little bears that comes his mom. The grandma had given the kids and their little bears. But whatever stuffed animal source. I wanted to get Buzz light year whatever it would make a circle. We put a tablecloth on the floor and we would not use toilet bowl water we use Apple genius or you know something chamomile tea and we have a tea party and we have so many memories and the board elected to, but not as much as the girls and we still have tea parties.

Lucy states she loves these tea parties and she gets invite her stuffed and that is so sweet. I love the equipment for where it really and we do kind of you know the chair.

Let me ask you, it seems easier as a grandparent to connect with younger kids, probably after their three or 45 you start to see their little personalities developing the lot more fun than changing diapers and those legs but talk about the difference between those years, and then the teen years because in the teen years. Like many parents, we know they get a little strange is Dr. Kevin Lehman would say they just get weird and grandparent struggle. I think to try to connect with the 13 1415-year-old but talk about the different seasons of grandparenting with the different ages of your grandkids. Well, it is seasons you know our life. My life as a woman in my life as a mother and grandmother is about seasons and so yes, we have to adjust and change in one way is if I really want to connect with him and like site. Good job on your track me or you now have. Have a great time at your band concert. I text it and I put little emoticons because they know Mandy likes dozen you think about that was so good about it and we try to do that with our kids to purge them because that's what this world's rough and a lot of very rough or tearing it down well and I think a grand grandparents role is to be in encourager we can't deny as many of our grandchildren's grandparent day tennis matches rockclimbing competitions. Whatever it is when ever we can. We even flew one time to St. Louis Missouri to be there for grandparents day and the teacher was shocked that we would like for our little granddaughters have you come back to the tougher team to maybe get doesn't happen in your case, but talk to the grandparent where you've got a little more attitude, for whatever reason, one can that are impaired due to connect when you're getting a lot of whatever or whoever they are communicating or not communicating. They don't seem very excited to hang out with you anymore.

That's eggs that can actually happen yes because they're teenagers and they look really love to be with their friends that you do so. What I found is what I did with my sons and my daughter when they were teenagers and preteens.

I found a way to get on their turf and do what they enjoyed. If it's throwing the football. I will go out there and I throw the football and I throw a mean spiral were present and if it's play tennis. I go out and play tennis with them. I love to be outdoors so I get on their turf connect with them of something they like to do so much that you like to do that could be going to a movie. It could be taking them to their very favorite restaurant. I mean you can reach their hearts through their stomach.

You still can. Even when something of their interest in so you can commit so you can if you want to talk to well like Noah was really into Noah's 13 1/2 and one-of-a-kind sense and he's really into March madness and NCAA basketball. So when I could. I watch the game or to some games with him and then I knew if I asked him about statistics of the teams and who he thought was going to win. He knows exactly how wants to talk about due to nobody like that.

Talk to me. I mean there's a lot of things he wouldn't want to talk about me. I'm not like the center of the universe base that will be realistic. Whoa, that's really powerful grandparents feel like should be you are little more when they're young but you know like there's other things more important.

But that's okay and I also think through prayer, we can continue to connect with their hearts if my grandkids are sick. They know I am praying for them every day and if they have something coming up they know I'm praying for them. I don't knock him on the head with it, but I might send him a note. Nora might send them a text. Because prayer connects our hearts with that child. Whether it's a child, a grandparent child and with God.

And so God can build the relationship and I just as there teenagers. I mean, this is my jam.

This is my real prayer often last week, two days ago God, please help me stay connected with these teenagers because they are so busy it's not just that they are weird because I don't think my grandchildren weird.

I think they're awesome but it's because they're so busy that I have so many may know a place on a club soccer team and is on the track team for school.

Caitlin takes Dave coming in to dance. They are involved in so many things they have school.

They have parents will first of all me that the pitch don't want us to step on their toes and take their time with their kids, but I will say this season wise if is a grandparent you can just remember those grandkids grow up so fast. In fact, probably faster than you experienced with your own children because life is going so fast now and if you can remember it and savor the moment you get to be together in encourager connect with them on their turf. Because my father died when he was 47 I was 11.

My kids never got to know my father, my mother there will that she a lot of those grandchildren.

She died when I was 34 and they were young and so I know this is just for a season.says life is like a vapor.

I just want to be with these build a relationship with these precious people got put in my life while I can.

That's a good thing to know that life is brief and take advantage of every moment. That's important, Jerry. We have talked about grandmother during quite a bit. Of course there's grand fathering as well. What are some things that grandfathers can do in one thing is not to be grumpy. I do not like to be around grumpy grandparents and I will also say and they also don't like to be around people who discourage them and are critical not grandparents not the grandfathers do that, but it's an important principle that children move towards those who encourage them. They move away from those who discourage them right and that your ability to teach them exactly directly related to how much their coming toward you.

Yes, run from you. They're not going to be now you can influence in their life, and a blessing. But you know, I know so my grandpa's who do great things like like mine does goes in cheers for his grandkids at soccer games and ghost dance recitals and sits with us at Starbucks if that's what the 12-year-old.granddaughter wants to do and he's even gone on one of the double-digit trips with us, and may also do that again and grandparents. He, like when the kids when you have a sleep over for your grandkids that the grandfather thinks of something he could do something fun like go out and play croquet with them. Set up a little croquet thing set up some kind of sports thing ride a bike with grandfathers can do things that grandfathers never thought of like houses has helped Luke and Noah and said Caleb built things right is he's he's good at woodworking and making things and doing mechanical things that is not in my wheelhouse. So God bless all the grandfathers out there. They continue they can also make a tremendous impact be a tremendous blessing to the grandchildren.

It's so hard going out today and the kids need all the help they can get all the prayer all the encouragement yeah sure, let me ask you this as well because in this day and age.

Unfortunately we get many letters and emails. Her focus were marriages are falling apart. Christian marriage is falling apart and that's a unique situation and grandparenting were you either have a new step grandchild who's coming into that relationship you have a new prep daughter-in-law or son-in-law right. Any advice on how to manage that relationship in a way that brings wisdom and peace because there's a lot of chaos that can happen can be confusing and uncertain time for children for that step grandchild that you want to welcome or adopted grandchild that you and welcome into your life and your family and sometimes even if that situation is kind of dicey you know that got them together. That's still a precious child and one of the things I've seen grandparents do that I actually share about is that the son was getting married again and so all of a sudden she had liked his five-year-old granddaughter and so at the wedding. She presented she had only met with this little granddaughter few times she'd only met her and so at the wedding she had typed a ladder on pretty paper of just I am so grateful that I'm going to get to be your grandma and I want to welcome you into the family and anytime we can be together. I would love that. I mean, what an impact at night and besides that, that reminds me that one of the things I've always done because I mean I really feel this in my heart at side I say sometimes to my grandchildren. I am so grateful to God that I get to be your grandma. He could have given you a lot of other grandmas and hiking to be a grandma and I think it's important for us to let them know that and I said to them, you know, Caleb. If all the 10-year-olds in the whole world were lined up. I pick you to be my Korean son because that's something they remember and they realize, I mean that's not alone laying it on so thick you known Paul in their ego and it means I am so grateful. Well, it's an attitude of thanksgiving really is irritation so you know in a self-centered culture. All of us having to give time to other people and do things other people want to do can really grind against what it is we want to do as we get older we get really comfortable with their routine that come out of yourself talking about teenagers. I mean, I still say that to my teenagers. I sent recently to Caitlin and I would say to put any pressure on grandparents today many grandparents like my husband and I are still working and retired. We don't have all the time and the money in the world to lavish owner grandkids. In some ways I wish you and we had five pendants six but the point is, if we can do what we can. I mean if you can think of things as a grandparent that are out in the listening audience. If you can think of things that you enjoy doing like reading and share it with you grandchildren if it's watching movies and lawful movies could share that with the grandchild on fish and fish and rollerskating. I've taken my grandkids bowling. I'm not great but it's fun roasting to be a little dangerous. Landed me one time in the emergency room but not made you cool grandma maybe set riding bicycles. There's so many things we can do with kids, we can't do everything I can do everything that the other grandkids in my coming that other friends I know have grandchildren, I can't do everything they're doing.

But this is in comparison. This is about love. This is about relationship what it is you're hitting on that now.

That's the spiritual side of the whole thing again. We talked about kids needing encouragement and so many families today.

It's either just one parent and hopefully to parents, but to have four additional people. Your grandparents telling you to be okay. You're doing alright the world to kids growing up today were there so much eating away at their confidence in your corner feels good. Yes I love what Alex Haley said once that grandparents. He said nobody can do for little children what grandparents can do grandparents sprinkle Stardust over the lives of little children, and we can sprinkle blessing and encouragement of the lives of our little grandchildren and are bigger grandchildren and be there encouragers pray for them in whatever stage they go through, build a relationship that will last a lifetime that's exactly.

That's really what matters Jerry Fuller all through the book connect with your grandkids I think erupted up beautifully regular subtitles fun ways to bridge the miles and the book is again filled with great ideas to connect with your grandkids, of all ages. I really thank you Jim, thank you, John always could have church Fuller here she brings such a great heart and enthusiasm for families and her book published by Focus on the Family and Tyndale has over 100 ideas about building relationships with your grandchildren. Ask for that when you get in touch and will send the book to you as our thank you, when you make a generous donation of any amount to support the work of Focus on the Family today. We appreciate your consideration of our youths for as Jim calls it fuel for the rocket ship as we help families around the world and we rely on your donations. So thanks in advance for helping to lift up and strengthen families donate a copy of that book when you call 800 K in the word family or stop by the episode notes for all the links.

Half of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once again help you and your family thrive. I am Jim Daly the Supreme Court will soon make a significant decision on abortion.

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