To have a positive effect upon the lives of grandchildren, you must start early in their lives and first establish a good rapport and relationship with them. For them to know of your love, I suggest the following:
- Spend time together reading books or other activities they enjoy. Do it in a one-on-one situation.- Give meaningful gifts, such as copies of the Book of Mormon with a message from you or a bank with slots for tithing, mission and spending. Tape your voice reading books, poems or anything meaningful to them. Invite them over to make special gifts for parents on special occasions.
- Write letters, thanking them for things they have done.
- Be positive. Praise them, tell them how proud you are and share the good things others say about them.
- Never criticize, put pressure on them, preach, judge or compare. Do not give advice unless asked for.
- Help financially, if parents are willing, with music lessons, missions and schooling.
- Set a good example and let them know of your love for them, your feelings, testimony and prayers for them.
- Expect the best and they will strive to live up to your expectations.
- Joan Stringham, San Jose, Calif.
How we did it:
Send cards, call on phone
From their first birthday on, always send a card or note or make a phone call. Words from a grandparent, whether they be words of love or admonishment, sometimes have more impact on the grandchild than many of the words of their parents.
No matter the ages of your grandchildren, make a point of embracing them when you greet or depart from them. Express quietly words of love, praise or a gentle reminder. But never undermine the important teachings of their parents. - Emma C. Sollis, Salt Lake City, Utah
Provide spiritual example
My mother did something that our children always will remember. Each week she offered to tend and feed them supper while my wife and I attended the nearby Arizona Temple. When we returned, she had supper ready for us. It made our weekly trip to the temple enjoyable and helped an elderly widow keep close tabs on her grandchildren while providing an example of service. She would also offer to fix supper each Sunday if we would prepare a spiritual devotional. - Bob Parker, Mesa, Ariz.
Grandparents can help and influence their granchildren through one-on-one experiences. Periodically, I have a "Grandma Day" and invite one child to participate in my normal day-to-day activities. They have made their own little loaves of bread, helped dig in the garden, gone shopping and run errands.
I encourage them to think of others. I let them help me pick out gifts for others. It is fun to see each little child's personality away from the usual family group situations. It gives us time to get acquainted and to just enjoy one another. Most parents don't mind sharing a child for a day in this way. - Shirley Martindale, Tempe, Ariz.
Teach about gospel
Whenever my grandchildren visit, I take them to sacrament meeting and Primary with me. We often talk about Heavenly Father and Jesus. They know they are special to their Heavenly Father, and He wants them to be happy. And I tell them if they obey their parents and grandparents, they will make everyone happy. They learn to say morning and evening prayers and to bless the food. We also pray for safety when we travel. This allows me to teach them about the gospel even though they don't attend Church with their parents. - Elsie Hydro, Jim Thorpe, Pa.
Show your love
Grandparents have many opportunities to help influence their grandchildren throughout the year. Give gifts of good music tapes, books, subscriptions to Church magazines, and Scouting supplies. Take time to participate in the special events in their lives. Take your camera and send them a picture.
Share your genealogy with them, giving them pioneer histories to read, along with showing a picture of that ancestor. The more love you share with them and the more you let them know that you care about them, the more they will remember your influence and love when they need it the most. - Caraleen Andrews, Shelley, Idaho
Give Book of Mormon
After moving 2,500 miles away from home, my mother wanted to keep close to our children and be a good influence on them. She bought them each a large-print edition of the Book of Mormon. They are now having a long-distance reading marathon with Grandma. - Deborah Gill, Matthews, N.C.
Tell them stories
I had four grandparents who loved to tell me pioneer stories. I have written down many of them and use them when I want to teach character-building qualties. For example, my grandchildren love the story of my grandpa being captured by the Indians and being set free because he listened to the still small voice. I also tell about his hearing Martin Harris' testimony of the Book of Mormon. - Ann G. Hansen, Brigham City, Utah
Gives loving counsel
Soon after each grandchild is born, my father writes a letter to that child expressing his feelings for the child. He also asks the child to "please accept some counsel from you grandpa in a spirit of love, concern and help." He then lists ways to help the child as he goes through life striving for perfection. At the end, he bears his testimony. - Melody Hales, Redondo Beach, Calif.
Set an example
I suggest the following:
- Set an example of daily service by attending the temple, serving in the Church and going on a mission.
- Give a Book of Remembrance, life stories, pictures of ancestors, Church magazine subscriptions and other helpful material for birthdays and Christmas presents.
- Participate with them in family reunions, outings, games and family home evenings.
- Take them to visit lonely neighbors and friends at Christmas time or Sunday afternoons.
- Stay with them when their parents are out. Serve them fruit and nuts instead of candy.
- Write to each at least once a month if they are living away from you. - Ruth E. Yashko, Lehi, Utah
How to checklist:
1 Send cards, letters expressing praise, thanks, love.
2 Invite grandchild for one-on-one experience with you.
3 Give gifts that will make a difference in their lives.
4 Share character-building stories from lives of forebears.
WRITE TO US:
Feb. 13 "How to avoid placing too much importance on apeparance."
Feb. 20 "How to help someone who has been disfellowshipped or excommunicated."
Feb. 27 "How to have an enjoyable dating relationship when there are few or no Church members to date."
March 5 "How to identify a spiritual prompting."
March 12 "How to draw closer as a family through family home evening."
March 19 "How to develop self-reliance and independence."
March 26 "How to improve the quality of your life."
April 2 "How to store important records."
April 16 "How to make time for exercise."
April 23 "How to grow old with a pleasant, positive disposition."
Have you had good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.