National Grandparents’ Day is this coming Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. Happy Grandparents’ Day to all our grandparents in the community. We might be a biological grandparent, a foster child grandparent, a god grandparent or a person in the community who reaches out to children.
We can thank Marian McQuade for beginning a campaign to establish a national day to honor grandparents. President Jimmy Carter declared the first day after Labor Day to be “National Grandparents’ Day.”
To be in a grandparenting role in any capacity is such a blessing. When I am in the classroom, I love to see children’s eyes light up when grandparents are there to pick them up. Grandparents bring so much history and experience into a relationship with a grandchild. Because of life’s experiences, its ups and downs, grandparents can provide strong physical, emotional and loving support.
Galatians 5:22-23 reads: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Grandparents can truly take the time to share “Recipes for Life” for their grandchildren in sharing the fruits of the spirit. I hope these suggestions help you enjoy this upcoming Grandparents’ Day.
1.Take a gallon of love. This ingredient is one we need so much of. In fifth grade, I can clearly remember our teacher had us memorize 1 Corinthians 13:13. “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Young children love to sing songs about love. Those of us who teach young children are blessed with hugs and hearing the words “I love you.”
2. Sprinkle in a dash of joy. Children seem to understand the path of journeying to joy. Possibly “fresh from heaven,” an infant’s smile seems to indicate that God delights in His creation. Children recognize God as joyful. Children love to clap and sing. Happiness is conditioned by, and often dependent on, what is “happening to me,” but joy is truly a divine dimension not shackled by circumstances.
3. Weigh out a pound of peace. When teaching young children about peace, we can promote peace in a child’s relationship with others. Sharing and getting along with family, siblings and friends promotes peace in a child’s life. Also, offering forgiveness to others when they have done wrong or hurt other people’s feelings helps children practice peace. Even infants can discern peace in a caregiver as they are being rocked and cared for. Peace is achieved as we submit every situation to the Lord. Philippians 4:7 reads, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
4. Throwing in a pinch of patience is such an asset in this fast-paced world. Classroom teachers begin the school year by teaching children to wait their turn and not interrupt others. I instruct my young students to put their fingers over their lips if they are having a hard time being patient. This gently reminds them to be patient and courteous to others. I also ask them to hold that thought until it is their turn. Teaching patience early in a child’s life is very important and will lead to happiness and contentment.
5. Pour in a cup of kindness. Have you ever noticed how raspberries spread everywhere? This is what we hope kindness will do. “Love talked about is easily ignored. But love demonstrated is irresistible.” Children are taught not only by our words but our actions, as parents and teachers model kindness.
6. Measure out a tablespoon of goodness. Goodness is doing what is right in the sight of the Lord and man. It is doing the right thing for the right reason. We can guide our children during these uncertain times to hang on to a rope of good when they are disappointed or discouraged. Outreaching in goodness to others overrides bitterness and leads to deep-hearted joy.
7. Pouring in a quart of faithfulness is love hanging on. Young children love to pray. With their young hearts, they believe in prayer. They trust and know that God will keep His promises. What a blessing for a child to establish faith early in their life. Faith prepares them to face possible disappointments, discouragement and little “bumps in the road of life.” In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
8. Pour in a pint of gentleness. When we think of gentleness, we think of humility — a lack of pride — and mercy. In explaining this to young children, I go back to the Greek definition that gentleness is “power under control.” I use examples of a wild horse that has been tamed, or water under control rushing through the turbines of a dam, versus water out of control — a flood. Children seem to understand this when given examples of thinking of other people first. For children to look for the good in other children is a wonderful activity of gentleness. It can be a simple game of children telling each other that they like or love another child because, for example, they share.
9. A bowl of self-control rounds out the flavor of these life recipes. Self-control for children means that they obey and submit to their parents, grandparents, teachers and rules. Teaching children to come in when they are called from outside play, or come to a family meal when they are called, reflects self-control. Being on a schedule contributes to good self-control. Assigning chores to your children such as picking up toys, cleaning their rooms and doing the schoolwork helps children develop discipline, responsibility and self-control.
As we mix all the ingredients of the Fruits of the Spirit, remember to add, blend and mix the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Grandparents and parents, I hope these few simple suggestions will help you love and interact with your children and grandchildren.