As we live, we tend to categorize our lives in natural seasons, Youth; Adult; Parent; Grandparent. Can you imagine successfully parenting a youth during your grandparenting season? It is possible when we yield to God’s plan for our lives and the lives of our children.
As a grandparent I became the guardian of my 11-year-old granddaughter. I suddenly had the ultimate responsibility to mold her and expose her to God and the programs set up by the local church. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way they should go”. Part of the training included her seeing me worshipping and honoring God and our leaders, attending church with her, giving and teaching her to give.
There are challenges due to the generational differences, however, communication is the key to understanding and seeking to be understood. As an adult I have many expectations based on how I was raised, how I raised my children and my life experiences that potentially placed barriers on successful communication with her, such as:
1. Voice inflections (tone)
2. Perceived attitudes
3. Body language
There is a lot of truth to the saying “what you heard is not what I said”. It is especially true as it applies to how we interpret what our youth say. They have multiple barriers to overcome, as they struggle to communicate with us:
1. Social anxiety
3. Need for validation
4. Disassociation – due to negative exposures
7. Lack of motivation
As a guardian I had to be mindful of her need to be heard and understood. I realized that she needed to interact with her peers in a healthy and positive atmosphere. She got involved in the youth programs in the church. I also set aside a dedicated time to spend listening/hearing her and doing fun activities such as playing games, viewing old family pictures or watching movies together. It’s during those times of fun that we see their beauty and potential. We must look at our children as seeds needing the proper atmosphere and nourishment to become who God created them to be.
Everything that we need to successfully parent at any season is found in God’s Word, in the local church and through obedience to our leaders. Imagine being a successful parent by following God’s Word into victorious parenting.
BY MAE AVERY