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 https://www.koorong.com/search/product/boundaries-when-to-say-yes-how-to-say/9780310351801.jhtml or you might find some helpful advice on Dr Clouds blog https://www.boundaries.me/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.