Episode 11: Grandparents–Leaving a Legacy and Discipling the Next Generation

In this episode we look at books for Grandparents and picture books and board books about Grandparents. This Sunday is Grandparents Day, so we’re celebrating!

Books Recommended in This Episode

Additional Links

Christian Grandparenting Network

Christian Grandparenting Network Facebook Page


Welcome to books that spark a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books, that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion, leading to teachable moments with our kids. And today I will add, and with our grandkids, this coming Sunday is Grandparents Day, and so today’s episode is dedicated to grandparents and helping them to disciple their grandkids and to leave a legacy of faith for their grandkids.

I have a bunch of books to cover today. I don’t know if we’re going to get through them all, but we will do our best. One of the first books, and it’s actually, there’s a set of books written by Josh Mulvihill, and they’re all about grandparenting and how we can disciple the next generation and leave a legacy of faith. The first one I want to talk about is called Discipling Your Grandchildren from the Grandparenting Matters Series. And it’s Great Ideas to Help Them Know, Love, and Serve God. They use the scripture Deuteronomy 6:1-9. It says, “The most common passage of scripture utilized for family discipleship is Deuteronomy 6:4-9. The Christian community often limits the application of Deuteronomy 6 to parents, but based on the context of Deuteronomy 6:1-2, it has a broader application that includes grandparents.

“Moses Gave the community a charge to love the Lord and diligently teach young people. ‘The Commands of God,’ Moses States, ‘the commands of God are for you and your son and your son’s son.’ Deuteronomy 6:1-2. The reference to son’s son means that Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is not only for parents, but also for grandparents. So from a biblical perspective, grandparents have a critical role with the next generation that is centered around the transmission of faith.”

So, I love that because those are the key verses behind me starting this whole podcast. And even though I’m not yet a grandparent, I only have two grand dogs at the moment, I look forward to being a discipling grandparent someday.

The other thing they say here is, and this is quoting, “Deuteronomy 6 helps us remember that discipleship is not one more thing to add to an already busy schedule. Discipleship is not a separate activity we do with a child. It is integrated into all of life. Discipleship can happen while playing catch, cooking dinner, watching a movie, driving in the car, reading the Bible, or working in the garden. According to Deuteronomy 6:7, the following portions of each day present great opportunities to disciple children: mealtime–when you sit in your house, travel time–when you walk by the way, bedtime–when you lie down, morning time–when you rise. Discipleship is what we do as we go through our day. The biblical pattern is for the truth of the Bible to be transferred through everyday activities. When we get ready for bed, eat a meal together, ride in the car, fold laundry together, engage in late night talks, or have fun together. Grandparents who think that they compartmentalize life by assigning a certain number of hours per week to spend on grandparenting have a philosophy that is contrary to the spirit of Deuteronomy 6. It is also a recipe to become a distant or disengaged grandparent. Most Christian grandparents I’ve met want to make any eternal difference in the lives of their children and grandchildren. The Bible tells us how to do that.”

And so that’s the premise for all of these books that he’s written and where we begin. He says, “The biblical method to disciple children–I explore eight biblical methods of discipleship for grandparents.” And these work for parents and grandparents. But I thought this was very good. So the eight methods, biblical methods are “asking questions, blessing (a spoken blessing is an opportunity for a grandparent to share his or her deep affection and desired future for a grandchild. A blessing is valuable because it creates a time and way to communicate affection and affirmation scripturally. We see blessings modeled by God as a common practice in the old Testament and a repeated pattern of scripture), intentional meals, prayer, communicating wisdom, reading, and discussing the Bible, telling God’s stories, and sharing the gospel.”

So these are biblical ways of naturally discipling and sharing our faith with our children and grandchildren. What I love about these books that he’s written, the introduction is so full of information and everything he writes is in a very conversational style. It’s very easy to understand, laid out very clearly and just makes it very doable. So I really love these books. I haven’t read all of the books in the series, but I have looked at this one, Discipling Your Grandchildren. Another one I’ve looked at of his is just called Grandparenting: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith. He mentions how he saw this T-shirt not long after becoming a grandparent for the first time, and it read: “Grandpa’s to do list, spoil them, fill them up with sugar, send them home.” You know, we might smile about that, but that is kind of the attitude of our culture.

And really, I think God has called us to so much more. That was from the foreword written by Calvin T Harper in the book. And he’s the founder and president of Christian Grandparenting Network. So that’s Calvin T Harper, but in the introduction written by Josh, he says, “This was what hit me as under the need. A number of years ago, when I began a PhD program in family ministry, my initial discoveries about the lack of resources for Christian grandparenting were shocking. I found zero in depth, biblical studies on grandparenting, one ministry to equip Christian grandparents (The Christian Grandparent Network led by Calvin Harper who wrote the forward), one small group or Sunday school DVD series on grandparenting, and seven books on grandparenting published in the past 15 years, not counting gift books for grandparenting or grandparenting journals. I discovered that there are millions of Christian grandparents with limited training and resources everywhere. I looked, I saw a huge need.”

And so that’s what caused him to focus on this series of books that he has written to help equip grandparents, to be great Christian grandparents, to pass on their legacy, and also to disciple their grandchildren or to be a partner with the parents in discipling their grandchildren. I love these books. They’re actually very motivating and inspirational. So, I highly recommend his books. I think it’s wonderful that God put on his heart to write these books. And so some of the others he’s written that I’ve looked at Biblical Grandparenting: Exploring God’s Design for Disciple-Making and Passing Faith to Future Generations. And like I said, he has a whole series of these books. So they’re Grandparenting Matters is the series of books. And I’ll have the links in the show notes for this episode, but there are so many in this series that just are great books.

Some other books, Grandma, I Need Your Prayers: Blessing Your Grandchildren through the Power of Prayer written by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock. This book starts out the first chapter, a grandmother’s spiritual influence. So they’re talking about how we, as grandparents can affect our children and by praying for our children and grandchildren, we can help bring them to the Lord. And I love that my husband came to the Lord, at least partly because of his grandmother, praying for him and sharing Bible stories with him as a child.

This is what Quin wrote in the first chapter of this book, “Perhaps you’re wondering whether your prayers can actually make a difference in your grandchild’s life. I (Quin) had an encounter one day that reminded me how much of a difference at grandmother’s prayers can make.

“‘I’ll Bet you had a praying grandmother,’ I said to the professional basketball player I’d been chatting with while we were waiting in the Atlanta airport for our flight to be called.

“‘I Did. But how did you know?’ he asked looking surprised.

“‘While We’ve been talking you mentioned her several times and spoke about how much you love and admire her,’ I answered.

“‘Yes,’ He said softly dropping his head. ‘When My mom left, my grandmother took me in to live with her through all those years. She prayed for me and encouraged me in every sport I ever tried. She always told me I could become a professional athlete if I set a goal, practiced for hours, and depended on God to strengthen me.’.

“‘And It looks like some of those prayers have been answered,’ I replied.

“‘She Was always praying for me,’ He continued with a smile. ‘I Could call her from anywhere I was playing a game, and she’d pray on the phone for me right then. She was a wonderful grandmother, old now, but still praying.’.

“What A tribute to a quiet little grandmother who poured her life and prayers into an abandoned grandson, never dreaming he would one day become a well-known athlete, and what an encouragement to praying grandmothers, that their efforts are not in vain.”

I love that. We are impacting the next generation. This book is just very sweet. It has lots of stories to encourage us of different ways that grandparents have prayed for and helped their kids. Then it has essential prayer keys.

“Years Ago, while attending a writer’s conference. I (Quin) sat across the dinner table from Catherine Marshall, whom I had long admired, knowing her reputation as an author and also as a praying mother. I asked her, “Can you give me some advice on how to pray more effectively for my three children?”

“Be as specific in your prayers as you can, and plant waiting prayers for your children’s future,” she advised. Then she asked, “When you pray, do you really expect anything to happen?”

“I pondered that question. Do I really expect anything to happen when I pray? I can tell you now that without a doubt, I do. I not only listened to her advice, but I went home to dig through the Bible to read everything I could find on prayer. As I endeavored to pray for my children and see results, now, many years later, I use these same biblical principles in praying for my grandchildren. Though I share here some things I do in my private prayer times, I’m sure you can add to this list.”

And then she lists several things: “Be specific, be persistent, be in agreement, be Bible-based, be open to the Holy Spirit, be submitted to God’s plan, be thankful, be willing to fast, and trust him always. The rest of the book goes through how to pray, how to bless your children, how to plant seeds in their lives. The chapters in this book are “A grandmother’s spiritual influence,” which has all the stories and testimonies, “Praying for spiritual growth,” “Praying for homes and families,” “Praying for friends and schooling,” “Praying for protection and health,” “Praying for hurting grandchildren,” “Praying for families broken by death or divorce,” “Praying for adopted grandchildren and step grandchildren,” “Praying for prodigal grandchildren,” “Praying for choices and turning points,” “Taking the role of parent or co-parent,” and “Leaving a lasting legacy.”

So this book has so much information and so many good things to offer a grandparent in knowing how best to pray for their grandchildren. Okay. So now very quickly, I’m going to go through some other titles of books that I think are worth looking into to get, as you’re preparing to really intentionally grandparent your grandchildren. There’s one by Glen Schuknecht and Ellen Schuknecht, and it’s A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family. And so this is about building a heritage.

And then this one is by Steve and Annie Chapman called 52 Prayers for My Grandchild. In the beginning of their book they have a Grandparent’s Prayer. And I’m just going to share this with you.

Thank you. I’ve seen my children’s children

Heaven’s love his flesh and bone

Oh, how sweet it is to hear them laughing

Where it’s been quiet far too long

Lord, I pray for these treasures

You have given to my years

Until they meet you in forever

Take their hand and keep them near Lord

I pray when they get older

And my name comes to their minds

May it be the one thing they remember

They saw your blessed face in mine

Isn’t that beautiful? So that’s in the first part of this book 52 prayers for my grandchild.

Another one by Ruth Towns and Elmer Towns is Great Lessons and Grand Blessings: Discover how Grandparents Can Inspire and Transform Their Grandchildren.

Larry Fowler has one Overcoming Grandparenting Barriers, and this is from the Grandparenting Matters series that Josh wrote. But this is another book in this series written by Larry Fowler, How To Navigate Painful Problems with Grace and Truth.

This book is called Heirlooms: Passing Faith Stories to Your Grandchildren by Tina Houser. And so this one says, “If you’re looking for a way to impact the next generation in a big way, this book is ideal for grandparents, parents, and others who have an opportunity to speak into the lives of children and youth.”

The heirlooms book is about sharing our stories and how through our stories, our children and grandchildren can get to know us and our faith. And so this is kind of a unique take on how to share our lives with our children and grandchildren.

Now, I want to cover some of the children’s books that are out there. A book that just recently was released is Grandma Snuggles written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Gail Yerrill. And this one’s really cute and it goes through the animal kingdom and each animal is talking about their grandma. And so it’s just a very cute little board book for babies. It’s a rhyming book. And it ends of course with my grandma and talks about a person, a human with their grandma, and it ends with a Bible verse. Every good, perfect gift is from God, but this is just a sweet, sweet little board book. And another cool thing is that Glenys will be my guest on this podcast in October. And we’re going to be talking about another book she has launching for Christmas. So be sure to watch for that. And that interview will be a lot of fun.

Some other kids’ books that are just really cute–there are tons of different kids’ books about grandmas and grandpas. There are board books and picture books. So, I’m going to list just some of the ones that I thought were exceptionally cute and share those with you, but you can definitely Google or check on Amazon, and you’ll find lots of them. One book is called Here Comes Grandma by Janet Lord and illustrated by Julie Paschkis. And it’s just a book where the grandma is determined to get there any way she can, and it shows every kind of transportation imaginable. And then when she arrives, she hugs the grandchild, but it’s just cute because it’s like a little adventure of how the grandma gets to see her grandchild. Two of my favorite books about grandmas and grandpas is How to Babysit a Grandma or How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish. And these are so cute because the child is explaining how to babysit your grandma or how to babysit your grandpa. And of course, it’s actually the child getting to spend time with the grandparents. The little girl is with her grandma and she describes how to feed her and how to entertain her and how she’ll react. And it’s so cute. And then in the grandpa one, the little boy is at the–with the grandma when the little girl goes to the grandma’s house and spends the night with the grandpa, when it’s just like an afternoon, while the parents are away–in each one, the child reassures the grandparent, “Don’t worry. The parents always come back.” And it’s just like if a child were afraid that their mom or dad weren’t coming back. They’re just adorable.

This is an older book from 2008 by Billy Crystal and illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles. It’s called, I Already Know I Love You. And it’s a board book that Billy Crystal wrote and I just love this one. It’s written to a grandchild even before they’re born. How I already know, I love you, and I’m looking forward to this and that in seeing this grandchild grow, and he wrote this for his very first granddaughter Ella.

Another one is I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Taro Gomi. Yumi is the little girl in this story. And she wants to go see her grandma, and her grandma wants to see her. And so they wind up going to each other’s house at the same time. So ,they miss each other. Then they go home, and they miss each other, and then they try again. And finally they’re on bicycles going to see each other. Cause I really want to see you grandma. And she’s like, I really want to see you Yumi. And they meet in the middle, under a tree. And they decided from then on, they would always meet under that tree. But it’s a very cute book. Just adorable.

There’s another couple books that are really cute. One is When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox and the other one is When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree written by Jamie L B Deenahan and illustrated by Lorraine Rocha. These books have a twofold purpose first to appreciate what grandparents give as gifts, but also to show how to respond to a gift that you were not expecting and was not on your list. And the writers do a really cute job with that. Of course, with the grant poets, a grandson with the grandma, it’s a granddaughter. And with the lemon tree, the tree grows. She’s able to make lemonade and sell the lemonade and then is able to go buy exactly what she wanted. And with the toolbox, he’s able to make the item that he really wants, and his grandpa helps him, but both are really cute stories and lots of humor in there.

And this one is a little strange, but it’s a fun book called Hey Grandude by Paul McCartney and illustrated by Kathryn Durst. And it’s a little adventure magic book. The grandpa shows the kids some postcards, and then he has a magic compass that takes somewhere they want to go, and they wind up then coming back at the end of the day and going to sleep. It’s just very different from most of the other picture books that are out there about grandparents. He doesn’t call his grandkids grandkids, he calls them chillers. So they call him grandude and he calls them chillers. And it’s just cute. There are dozens of very sweet board books. That would be really fun to just package up a whole little collection of board books for grandparents to read to their grandkids.

There’s Thank You, God, for Grandpa by Amy Parker. And she also has, Thank You, God, for Grandma. There’s I Love You, Grandma by Jillian Harker and Kristina Stephenson, and there’s quite a few others that are similar. This one is unique. My Nana and Me by Irene Smalls and illustrated by Kathy and Johnson. And I love this book. It’s a grandmother African American grandmother and granddaughter and the adventure they have as they go through the day, the grandma then gets into the little girl’s bed to fall asleep. And the little girl decides, okay, I’ll fall asleep too. So it’s kind of a going through the day, but then leading to going to sleep. So it’d be a great bedtime story book.

And then there’s Grandpa’s Promise and Grandma’s Promise by Susan Jones and Lee Holland, and these two books are really cute. It’s different animals talking to different grand animals. And they’re like, I promise you this. And it talks about all the things they’re going to do together and what they’re going to teach them and how they’re going to feel safe. And it’s just really heartwarming. So those books are just sweet as can be. And then there’s this one, a really cute book called The Grandpa Book by Todd Parr. This is one of those that your kids can learn to read fairly early because there’s very few words in it, but it talks about what a grandpa does and all about a grandpa. And so it’s really cute that he, you know, he has lots of pictures of you in his wallet and he likes to tell fish stories and stuff like that. And then of course, there’s The Grandma Book that tells all about grandmas. In these it looks like the pictures have been drawn by a child. And so it’s very cute. And it’s one of those to encourage early literacy and emotional development. It’s a good book, especially if you’re wanting your child to read on their own. This would be a good one for them to start with that.

There’s so many picture books and board books geared towards grandmas and grandpas. I hope you can pick up one and enjoy it together and celebrate Grandparent’s Day. This Sunday honor your grandma and grandpa, and enjoy being a grandma and grandpa.

Thank you for joining us for books that spark a podcast, celebrating books, that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussions. I hope our discussion will spark meaningful conversations with the children in your life. You can sign up for my mailing list to get weekly reminders of this podcast. And my blog, my website is terriehellardbrown.com. And when you sign up for my mailing list, remember you also are eligible to download several different freebies that I offer for those who join.

Colorful drawing: Grandparents Day card with tulip

Your Host:

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials. Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, and discussion. For more information, visit her website at terriehellardbrown.com

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