Welcome to a place where we can share ideas about grandparenting, especially ways to pass spiritual values and family stories to the next generation.

Mary is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart.
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Co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Field Trip in Honesty

Tuesday’s Thought

Several weeks ago, I mentioned a wonderful book that I’m praying through for our grands, While They Were Sleeping by Anne Arkins and Gary Harrell (It can be ordered from FamilyLife.). It focuses on praying for 12 character traits in our kids’/grandkids’ lives.

Since Jim and I have five grandkids, I use While They Were Sleeping to pray for one grand each day of the workweek (Monday-Friday). I’ve been praying through the “Teachability” section. It explains that teachability is developing a heart-attitude that seeks God’s guidance for living to honor Him each day. Well, on Wednesday, our three-year-old granddaughter and I are going to have a "field trip."

Recently, I purchased some items for our out-of-town grands who were spending the weekend. They included a nightgown and a pair of church socks. When I checked the receipt, I realized that somehow the price for the nightgown had rung up for $1.80 instead of $9.99 and the socks weren’t even on the tab!

I’ve got to go back to the store, I moaned to myself. And then I thought, Ahhh … A teaching opportunity. ... but, I didn’t have time that weekend to return to the store.

So, when our in-town grand comes over in a couple of days, we're going to bring the incorrect receipt to the store and explain what happened. I want to pay the money owed and talk to our grand about what it means to be honest. I hope that God will prepare her little heart so this will be a teachable moment—one that might be etched in her mind forever.

Next Monday I’ll give you an update on our “field trip in honesty.”

How have you seized teachable moments with your grands?

He is able,

Friday, September 26, 2008

Let's Make Fall Placemats

Friday Fun

It’s beginning to feel a lot like … fall. Don’t you just love the cool autumn days and the changing colors! What a great time to make fall placemats with your grandkids.

Here’s how:

· Snap some pictures of the grands holding pumpkins, sitting in a pile of leaves, or standing by trees that are turning fall colors. Print out the pictures. Glue or tape the back of each selected picture onto a piece of placemat-size construction paper.

· Help your grand write a Bible verse about changing seasons on each placemat, such as Daniel 2:21: “He changes times and seasons.” Discuss the verse and memorize it together.

· Now, help your grand decorate the placemat with personal drawings, his/her name, stickers, prints of leaves made from a purchased leaf stamp or a homemade “potato leaf stamp” (directions below), words describing things he/she is grateful for, etc.

· Date each place mat.

· You can either laminate the placemats with clear Contact paper or go to a teacher supply store or copy shop and have them laminated professionally.

How to Make a Leaf Potato Stamp

Wash several baking potatoes and cut them in half (width). Using a sharp knife, carve out the shape of a leaf (a different shape on each potato).

On each potato, cut away the potato surrounding the shape so that the shape of the leaves will be about one-fourth of an inch. Presto—you have your stamp.

Pour paints of fall colors into bowls (throw-away bowls are nice to use). Help your grand dip a stamp into a shallow bowl of paint. Now it’s ready for your grand to stamp his/her masterpiece.

Have fun!

He is able,

Friday, September 19, 2008

Popsicle Stick Fun

Friday's Fun

Popsicle crafts can provide hours of fun for the grands. Last weekend one of our granddaughters made the cutest picture frame.

She colored four Popsicle sticks with magic markers, and then we glued them together with wood glue. She added her decorative touch to the frame, and it was ready for a picture (to be glued to the back of the frame).

I googled “Popsicle crafts” and discovered countless craft ideas for them. One clever idea is a “tick-tac-toe” board. It’s so simple to make! Place and glue four Popsicle sticks onto a piece of heavy construction paper—so that they make the shape of a tic-tac-toe board. Then cut out three identical objects for the “x’s” and “o’s” (these could be slipped into a zip-lock bag for storage). That’s all there is to it—presto… you have a travel game. This link will lead you to more detailed directions (and a picture): http://crafts.kaboose.com/wood/crafts-popsicle-sticks.html.

Have a great weekend!

He is able,

The picture of the popsicle sticks is by Ami Beyer. © Ami Beyer | Dreamstime.com.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How about a Handshake?

Friday's Thought

What grandchild (or any of us, for that matter) couldn’t use a few more manners? With a little imagination, teaching kids about manners can be a lot of fun!

In the July/August/September issue of the e-zine Encouraging Women with Hearts for their Homes, June Moore's column shared about the correct way to shake someone’s hand. After reading June's article, you may want to have a little fun with your grand.

If you have a young grandchild, he/she could dress up and you could practice shaking one another's hand—the correct way. My guess is that you'll share a few laughs, too.

Here's an example: Your grand could dress up as a principal, doctor, or a parent. And you could play the role of a teacher (meeting the principal), nurse (greeting the doctor), or an adult friend (meeting the parent). After shaking hands, switch roles.

Older grands, especially those wanting to start part-time jobs, may be eager to learn this social grace.

FYI, June's new book is called Manners Made Easy for the Family. She has written many others including You Can Raise a Well-Mannered Child.

He is able,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Plugged In

Tuesday’s Thought

Last week, a fluorescent light burned out above my desk at work. It was on one minute and off the next. Before a helpful man in the Facilities Department replaced the light, he asked: “What’s wrong with it?”

“Oh, it’s burned out,” I knowingly answered. I had tried turning it off and on several times before requesting a new light. I was sure it was burned out.

“Have you checked to see if it’s plugged in?” He asked.

Hummm—hadn’t thought of that. With a little jiggle of the plug, once again there was light!

Sometime later that day, I thought How many times do I forget to plug into the real Power?

This true-life illustration could be a fun one to reenact with a grandchild. Unplug a lamp and ask your grand to tell you why there’s no light--no power to the lamp. Like my friend from the Facilities Department, ask “Have you checked to see if it’s plugged in?”

Then explain to your grandchild that being connected (or "plugged in") to God gives him/her the power to make good choices and live a God-honoring life.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5)

He is able,

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lessons Learned

Tuesday’s Thought

The names of those who left a comment during July or August were entered into a drawing for a copy of the book While They Were Sleeping: 12 Character Traits for Moms [Grandmoms] to Pray.

And the winner is ... Gayla Grace. Congrats, Gayla!

As I’m writing this, almost two million people have been evacuated from the Gulf in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav’s arrival this morning. Most are now breathing a sigh of relief as Gustav has been downgraded to a Category One.

Evacuating 1.9 million people in several days is no small feat. I think that everyone would say that the local, state, and federal governments learned a lot from what did not happen with Hurricane Katrina, and they applied what they learned.

As I thought about the hard lessons learned from Katrina, I thought about some hard lessons that I’ve learned in my life—to wait on God’s timing, to hold my tongue, to save that dollar today because we might need it tomorrow. Proverbs 28:26b (The Message) says, “Real survivors learn wisdom from others.”

As grandparents, we have an opportunity to share some of our life-lessons with our grands. They can learn from us so they don’t need to make the same mistakes.

One of Jim and my pastors tells a story of his uncle taking him to a toy store and telling him that he could have anything that he wanted. He could have had an electric train or gigantic erector set. Instead he chose a small trinket and wondered years later Why did I do that?

Our pastor wanted us to learn from his mistake - to realize that too often when God offers us so much, we settle for so little.

He is able,