Advice Needed for Grandmother

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Jeri Tanner

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Staff member
Hi friends, I have a 5-year-old grandson who is allowed to go to church with us sometimes, for which we are grateful. I also read to him from the Bible and have had great discussions with him about the realities of God, man, and the world. His parents (my daughter and her husband, who are very dear to me) have expressed that they had rather I not do this, but so far have not forbidden it. What is wise and right as far as a grandmother in my position continuing to read the Bible and explain it to him, speaking to him about the truths of Scripture, etc? Again, I am so thankful he is allowed to go to church with us.
 
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Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
Dear sister - I'm sure there will be much much more valuable responses then what I may say, but I will tell you my initial thoughts;

1. When you are with the child, don't just give him a "religion" but give him a worldview that puts Jesus at the center. What I mean is that when you go outside always bring attention to beautiful things and use that at a time to teach Him of his creator. When you see people love them, and when he asks tell him they are his neighbor and God created them. And when (if) you have to scold or correct him use that as a time to not just say "don't hit because hitting is bad", but perhaps something like "since Jesus made me and made you He wants us to be kind to each other because we are all his children". When you hear good music say "what beautiful music this is! God has given this chef a great gift... He gives many good gifts to those He creates..."... Do not separate the "sacred" from the "secular" but show him the fingerprint of his creator in all that he does abd sees, and use every moment as a moment for teaching...
2. Instill in him a love for the scriptures!!! Speak often of the scriptures abd read to him often (online free is "the beginners bible" and has many many Bible stories)

May God richly bless both he and you and your guys' family as you seek to lovingly lead this lil fella.

Please keep us updated ❤


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Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
Read to him from the story Bible. Acknowledge if appropriate that his parents don't agree about these things, but you believe them to be true and you will love him whether he does or not. Tell him he does not need to argue with his parents.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks guys for your input, I appreciate it. I am wondering more about the propriety of reading the Scripture and Bible stories to him, and telling him the truth about things like the creation of the world, in light of his parents' wish that I not. Perhaps this is simply a case where the sword that Christ came to bring is evident; there is no easy way forward but there is a way forward. I just haven't heard much from or about Christian grandparents in my position. I'd rather my daughter and I were like Lois and Eunice!


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Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
I think I understand your dilemma. We can't very well claim we respect a parent's right to instruct their child as they see fit and then undermine them when their views don't mesh with ours. It doesn't seem right.

However, surely the parents know what you believe and that you don't keep it hidden. Surely they know that if they let you take their son to church he will hear biblical teaching there. As long as you aren't being sneaky about it, I think you can continue to be the person you are and do the things you would do with any grandson, including read Bible stories to him. If your daughter doesn't want you to do this, it seems to me that it's on her to ask you to stop. At that point you may have another sort of decision to make. But otherwise, keep acting like the believer you are.

I teach Bible lessons to a lot of kids in Sunday school classes and at Christian camps. A surprising number of them come from unbelieving homes and sometimes even have parents who are actively hostile toward Christianity. Yet for some reason, those parents still send their kids to church or camp at let me teach them. Okay, then I teach them. I'm not being sneaky about it; if the parents ask, I'll tell them exactly what I'm teaching their kid. Those parents are usually after free child care, or want to allow their child to spend time with a friend, and probably think they can easily counteract anything the kid might be taught. Well, maybe they can. But maybe they figure wrong and the gospel will grip that child. The parents decided to entrust their child to me knowing who I am. I'm not being underhanded; I'm just being myself.

I do take pains to avoid directly criticizing a parent to their child. For example, if a child tells me their dad says it's silly to believe Jesus rose from the dead, I'm likely to respond with something like, "Yes, some people think that, but the Bible says..." I will NOT say, "Well, your dad is the silly one if he says that." I think parents do expect that if they entrust their children to us, we will speak respectfully about the parents. To fail to do this is, I think, a breach of trust and a failure to act with integrity. So I remain as respectful as I can be even when, sometimes, I have to openly disagree with something a parent has taught a child.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I think I understand your dilemma. We can't very well claim we respect a parent's right to instruct their child as they see fit and then undermine them when their views don't mesh with ours. It doesn't seem right.

However, surely the parents know what you believe and that you don't keep it hidden. Surely they know that if they let you take their son to church he will hear biblical teaching there. As long as you aren't being sneaky about it, I think you can continue to be the person you are and do the things you would do with any grandson, including read Bible stories to him. If your daughter doesn't want you to do this, it seems to me that it's on her to ask you to stop. At that point you may have another sort of decision to make. But otherwise, keep acting like the believer you are.

I teach Bible lessons to a lot of kids in Sunday school classes and at Christian camps. A surprising number of them come from unbelieving homes and sometimes even have parents who are actively hostile toward Christianity. Yet for some reason, those parents still send their kids to church or camp at let me teach them. Okay, then I teach them. I'm not being sneaky about it; if the parents ask, I'll tell them exactly what I'm teaching their kid. Those parents are usually after free child care, or want to allow their child to spend time with a friend, and probably think they can easily counteract anything the kid might be taught. Well, maybe they can. But maybe they figure wrong and the gospel will grip that child. The parents decided to entrust their child to me knowing who I am. I'm not being underhanded; I'm just being myself.

I do take pains to avoid directly criticizing a parent to their child. For example, if a child tells me their dad says it's silly to believe Jesus rose from the dead, I'm likely to respond with something like, "Yes, some people think that, but the Bible says..." I will NOT say, "Well, your dad is the silly one if he says that." I think parents do expect that if they entrust their children to us, we will speak respectfully about the parents. To fail to do this is, I think, a breach of trust and a failure to act with integrity. So I remain as respectful as I can be even when, sometimes, I have to openly disagree with something a parent has taught a child.
Yes, thanks Jack, this is how I've thought about it so far and tried to practice. I think I'm faltering a bit because it's easy to theorize about this kind of thing in another person's family, but then when it's your own dear grandchild being brought into the "line of fire" so to speak (if indeed the gospel does grip him!), then the realities of the warfare we're part of can't be ignored. I see God's goodness in the impulse many unbelieving parents have to allow their children to attend church. That is encouraging, and I'm encouraged to continue to pray and trust the Lord in these things. Thanks for the input on how to speak to both him and his parents about the differences we have in our views of God. He's just now reaching the age and stage of development where this is looming larger as an issue.


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