Sunday Reflection: Finding Faith in the Grandparents house.

The last question to be considered in this series on Grandparents is how to be missional.

What makes Grandparents home an extension of the church that many grandchildren may never enter? How can grandparents express their faith in their own homes, respect their children, but remain true to themselves? Or how to be missional in your own home.

We have discussed the importance of negotiating with adult children,

And the need for spiritual development.

We know that maintaining relationship is at the heart of faith formation, so the grandparents’ home, should be a safe place where all your grandchildren are welcomed and encouraged.

If you can share your faith with your grandchildren, then you might also find that some of the things mentioned below might help to set your house apart and be a place where they can discuss faith issues and use faith terminology, especially important as these types of discussions are no longer acceptable in public places.

But there are also some things that you can share without getting your adult children offside.

Picture books, movies and TV shows can have Christian themes, or in the least themes that are Christian, encouraging these when in your presence breaks no rules but lets you share something of your belief system, in a less direct ways. Storypath and Picture Book Theology are great sites for finding books that can reflect a not necessarily intentional Christian theme or value. No need to preach just read the books and let your grandchild process the thoughts their way.

If you are allowed the freedom of sharing your faith with your unchurched grandchildren, your home may be the first/only experience of a faith community. In Australia protestants are not used to the concept of their home being an extension of their faith expression. I”m not talking about creating icons, but about creating an environment that reflects your Christian Heritage. Thus, how much you do, or how little depends on what you are feeling comfortable with.

Some things you might like to try are


Experiment with what works for you

Have fun influencing the next generation


Wendy L.


Sunday Reflection: Having THE conversation with your grown-up kids.

No not THAT conversation, hopefully by this age that has been done and dusted. No, I’m talking about that other S word, Spirituality.

Many in the Grandparent bracket, have never contemplated that a conversation about faith is really a conversation about spirituality.

By being so fixated on Church attendance or faith sharing we often by pass the idea that what we are asking about is the spiritual well being of our families. And as it has always been implicit in our conversations or needs for faith formation, we haven’t got our thinking around this very first element, spirituality. In fact, many don’t even know what it means or why it is important.

Spirituality is so important that, “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) refers to spiritual rights in four of its articles, with a further four also outlining specific religious rights.”[1]

So, what is Spirituality? Nye’s little book Children’s Spirituality[2]explores and clearly explains how complex a definition it can be. She sets out the number of disciplines; educators, theologians, psychologists and they’re different way of looking at what1spirituality is. Nye looks at 3 explanations, the first an over simplified “God’s ways of being with children and children’s way of being with God”, but it is far broader as her next attempt shows, “children’s spirituality is an initially natural capacity for awareness of the sacred quality to life experiences. This experience can be conscious or unconscious, and sometimes fluctuates between both, but in both cases, can affect actions, feeling and thoughts. In childhood, spirituality is especially about being attracted towards “being in relation” responding to a call to more than “just me” – others, God, to creation or to a deeper inner sense of Self. This encounter with transcendence can happen in specific experiences or moments, as well as through imaginative or reflective activity.”[3] It is about relationship and the interconnectedness of all things. As Grandparents, the concern is our grandchild’s spiritual development will be stifled and not developed.[4]

Thus, the question we should be asking our unchurched adult children is how are they going to cultivate their child’s spirituality, especially when they have rejected faith themselves?

You also need to listen to their answers as they may have already worked out what is spiritually significant to them and how they will express that with their child.

Or it might give you a missional opportunity to share with your child, and how the Christian faith can benefit them and their child.

The very first point of connection a child has is with its mother, so strong bonding is an important spiritual beginning. Thus, your first duty to the spiritual formation of your grandchild is to help facilitate or provide the necessary support to allow that significant bonding experience to happen.

For something practical you can do, if your church does not have a mother and baby group, help start one, so that they can help nurture the parents in your local area.

You might also like to suggest that your child attends one near to them.

A grandparent’s support group or the creation of good relationships within your congregation can help you gain the support you need in your role as grandparent.

Also, what liturgies take place in your congregation to support the grandparent. One congregation we attended had a liturgy for the new grandparents, that involved handing them a rose and praying over the grandparents. Do others have this type of liturgy?


Wendy L.

[1]Nye, Rebecca, Children’s Spirituality: What it is and why it matters, (2014, Church House Publishing, London) p. 15

[2]Nye, Rebecca, Children’s Spirituality: What it is and why it matters, (2014, Church House Publishing, London)

[3]Nye, p.6.

[4]Nye, p. 85.

Sunday Reflection: How to negotiate with your adult children about what can and can’t be shared regarding faith with your grandchildren.

Each family is different, we all have our own ways of communicating or miscommunicating. But it seems that many adult children have found a way to be very clear about the fact that they are not interested in the faith of their parents.

So, it is with much trepidation that the grandparents I know approach me with concern about how to share their faith with their grandchildren, the children of these children that have wounded them so with their choices.

We negotiate healthy boundaries everyday, yet when it comes to our family many of those skills go out of the window. We jump into the war, and find that we are fighting along well worn lines even when trying hard not to make common mistakes.

These battlegrounds, are entrenched in our relationships and they are deeply entrenched. It might help you to read or re read Boundaries by Could and Townsend or you might find some helpful advice on Dr Clouds blog

It might also be worth having a different conversation with your adult children.

Break it down, work out what it is that you want to share with your grandchildren about yourself, about your faith.

For example, do you want to tell them about faith experiences in your life?

Do you want to tell them faith stories/ read from Children’s Bible Stories?

Do you want to be able to give them Christian based gifts, such as prayer books, bibles, storybooks, toys etc?

Do you want them to attend church with you? On religious holidays, or at other times during the year?

Do you want to pray withyour grandchild? No-one can stop you praying for your grandchildren or for that matter your children.

Are you expected to give up a church activity to attend sports, or other activities for your grandchildren?

Please share with us any other needs that need to be negotiated.

Being clear about what you want to talk about can help reduce the message being lost in the emotional pulls. Giving you a better chance of being heard.

And it’s just as important to listen to what your adult children want.

May I suggest that you,

1)Don’t talk about everything all at once,

2)choose your topics,

3)and have the discussions over days, weeks, years.

4)And get the conversation started early, well before it becomes necessary.

Above all, you are now missional, not confrontational. Your agenda is to bring your family to faith, NOT to isolate any of you from each other. Christ walked alongside people reaching their needs. What is your child’s need that has bought them to the decisions that they have?

Re-read last week’s post, to realise that positive affirming relationships are shown to be important to faith transmission.Sunday Reflection: The importance of Grandparents in Faith Transmission

And there is another conversation you need to have.

But that’s for discussion on another Sunday.


Wendy L.

Sunday Reflection: The importance of Grandparents in Faith Transmission

The Question I most often have from Grandparents is this one “How can I help my grandchildren, come to know the Lord, when their parents have rejected faith?”. It is a continual source of frustration for very devoted, loving Christians wanting to pass on the faith they hold so dear. They feel disappointed by children that have walked away, and still want to share this important part of themselves with the next generation.


It seems to me that there are 3 parts to this dilemma.

  • Is how to negotiate with their children about what can and can’t be shared regarding faith with their grandchildren.
  • To understand what Spirituality is and what it must do with faith, so that they understand what it is that they are trying to discuss with their children.
  • How they can express their faith in their own homes, respect their children but remain true to themselves. Or how to be missional in your own home.



Before I try to expand this conversation, and these dilemmas, I want to make it clear that I value your thoughts so please help me out here and share your own thoughts.


Also, I have always written short non-academic posts for sharing with time poor parents/grandparent/guardians. To continue in this vein, I will break this post down into parts over the next few Sunday’s.


But the very first thing I have the privilege of sharing with Christian Grandparents is the privilege of prayer. Every grandparent I have spoken too, when asked, has admitted that they pray for their children and their grandchildren. As Christian’s they have been doing what is expected, they take it to their Lord. And I believe in the power of prayer. From my own life experience, to the studies we read in Pastoral Care classes. There is a connectedness in prayer. Right through the Gospels, our example of Christ, takes time out to pray (Matthew 14:23,26:36, Mark 6:36, 14:32; Luke 5:16, 6:12, 9:28) so in their example these Grandparents have been bringing their faith to their family. Some have negotiated the path to being able to say, “I pray for you each day” to their children and grandchildren, the best others can do is to tell their family that they think about them each day. But for some even this “toning down of ideas” tends to result in a family schism, so nothing is said. This is when we trust to the power of prayer.

In their conclusion in Families and Faith, Bengtson, Putney and Harris[1], make some recommendations from their research and from other sources to conclude that “families do matter in determining the moral and religious outcomes of young adults.”(p.195). Their study was longitudinal, over 35 years and involved different generations, and they make the point that “increasingly grandparents are the defacto moral and religious teachers”(p.197), thus we can extrapolate that their second point on the warmth and affirming family relationships being associated with “higher religious transmission” applies equally to the grandparents as to the parents. So, your relationship to your grandchild is important, as is your relationship with your child. And don’t give up on your adult children, Bengston and Co’s research suggest that “prodigals do return” (p. 197). Finally, “families where grandparents reinforce the parents’ religious socialization efforts succeed more than where they do not”.



Wendy L.

[1]Families and Faith: How religion is passed down across generations, Bengtson, Vern L., Putney, Norella M. and Harris, S. (2017, Oxford University Press, New York)

KISS Advent for grandparents, ok everyone!

As I prepared this, I was tired, jet lagged, and sick. More and more wonderful stuff kept coming in from my “sources” on the great ways to practice Faith Formation with the family for Advent. Or options to use for Intergen services. Overwhelmed did not come close to explaining how I was feeling.

So, I threw my hands up and went. Enough. Maybe I was only meant to pursue this blog approach to sharing the faith for 12 months. Then it occurred to me. If I was feeling bombarded how were the families feeling.

Now, for those of you reading who live outside of Australia, you need to know that December is the busiest month for families. It is the end of the school year. Our weather helps by providing us with longer, warmer days, so that lets us pack in way more in a day then is good for anyone. That is unless you are affected by our natural disasters such as Bushfires and Cyclones. In which case trauma, becomes a whole different topic. But usually, this is the season for end of concerts- school, ballet, music classes, work, and then there is the get to gather’s, usually around the BBQ in the extending daylight. This may be the time of the year when grandparents are called on the most. Adult children, need extra babysitting services for their offspring (your beloved grandchildren) as they try to stay social and fit in all the work commitments. Grandparents are required at ALL the end of Concerts/events. Many Grandparents are still working themselves and may very well have parents of their own that need extra care at this time of the year.

Overwhelming does not even cut it. Exhaustion in big servings, is the order of the day.

So how can we honour the season of Advent in our lives and our homes, and influence all the generations we have around us? KISS, yes Keep It Simple S (ok you know the rest). And a few extra kisses won’t go astray either!


In the midst of the chaos, a moment to reflect, is a positive strategy for you and sets a good example for those around you.

Mine is simple, by sharing it I hope you will find something in your everyday that keeps you focused on the reason for the season.

I have a Magnolia plant that blossoms during Advent, The buds remind me of candles in their shape, and like a flame when the flower opens it spreads out exiting perfume and visual delight. Then like a candle it dies, turns brown, leaving like a candle the essence of what had been and what is to come. I love watching the plant bud, bloom and die, and it reminds me of Christ’s impact on the earth, our own short trajectory, and the continuity of God though history and our lives, from birth to death. This simple visual meditation, opens me up to listening for God.


In a previous home we had two beautiful Christmas Wattles that bloom red flower crowns during Advent. The colour reminded me of Pentecost and that we celebrate God bursting into this world in human form for us.

If you like to colour in, you might like A sanctified Arts Advent book,

I settle down when everyone has gone to sleep, make a cuppa, I like lavender and chamomile at the moment, and just spend a quiet few minutes this way.

But you might prefer the very quick, 3 minute in fact, 3 minute retreat by Sacred Spaces, you can down load the app on your phone

Decorating for Advent

How do you send a firm signal that this is a home celebrating Christian Advent and Christmas not just commercial Christmas?

Think about the way you decorate,

what are really simple ways to make a small statement

Our stocking say Hope, Peace, Love and Joy


Keep an Advent candle circle in a prominent place. I add a candle each week as we count down. Those family members who only visit a church with you on Christmas day will have been trained by you to understand what this means.

OR have a cake at the end of each weekly family dinner, with a purple candle on it for each week of the advent calendar. So start with 1 purple(or blue) candle, then 2 purple (or blue) candles 2 purple and 1 pink- week 3, then 3 purple 1 week. (many years ago I read of this idea but I can’t find the reference)

Use purple and white in your Christmas Tree decorations and choose decorations that can help you tell a faith story to your grandchildren. Better still get them to help you make them.

REMEMBER the object is to share the faith story, these are just prompts for others to ask, or for you to tell about your faith.

Advent Calendar

Make this beautiful version, better still get the children to help you make it

or use the ideas’ here


Fill the house with meaningful Christmas music, Choose a Christmas radio station, or use Spotify Try Christian Children’s Kids songs

Or my favourite

Choose a style of music that suits you or your family members. from traditional to Colin Buchanan or

Seeds that have a strong Biblical base

Create a family band.

Family Reflection options

You can grab one of the many family reflection options such as


Great for sharing with grandchildren through the Advent season as they come and go

Keep it Simple

red kiss neon light signage on dark lit room
Photo by Tim Mossholder on

Show your family how easy it is to fit Advent into the busiest time of the year.

That faith enhances, not weigh’s us down.

Hopefully they may find that faith is what has been missing from their lives.

Lead the way.


Wendy L.