By Don Hawkins, D. Min.
Most of us who are faith-affirming grandparents grew up with a great appreciation for the country in which we live. Ours is a land of freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the government, and the freedom of religion. Together these five guaranteed freedoms make the citizens of the United States of America the freest in the world.
For those of us who were raised in Christian homes, of special value is the freedom to worship in a manner consistent with our Biblical convictions. I have had the privilege of traveling to countries where these freedoms were not available. Two years before the Berlin wall began to come down, I traveled with a group of colleagues to East Berlin. I vividly remember the words of our tour guide; “Once you cross the border into East Germany, you have surrendered every one of your freedoms.” Recently, following a trip to India to teach graduate courses, I was told of intense persecution in the state of Manipur in Northeast India. Tribal people and professing Christians had their houses burned, and many were forced to flee for their lives. I learned that over 30 had actually paid the ultimate price.
Sadly, the evidence is mounting that our culture is rapidly moving in an anti-Biblical, and in some ways anti-American direction. Cancel culture, sexual distortion, critical race theory and other left-leaning cultural shifts have penetrated our public education system and our society as a whole. Our grandsons and granddaughters, from a young age, are being taught things that are totally contrary to how we were raised and what we believe.
An article in the September Hillsdale College newsletter pointed out that “Sadly, in many of our nation's classrooms, great stories of American achievement are either ignored or presented as evidence of America's history of oppression and racism. The result is a generation of young Americans who have been robbed of a true account of history….”
A Dangerous Drift
Who would have thought 15 or 20 years ago that kindergarteners today would be told there are more than two genders, and that you could select your own-- a shocking contrast to the Biblical evidence of Genesis 2 and the clear statement of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6, that “God made them male and female.”
Who would have imagined that, in many cities across America, statues of our founding fathers, including George Washington and even Abraham Lincoln, have either been removed or attempts have been made to remove them.
How did this happen?
Of even greater importance, what can we do about it?
The growing drift toward “woke culture” in our country has been taking place for decades, but over the past several years it has rapidly picked up speed. In many states public school teachers have already been indoctrinated with critical race theory and other counterculture philosophies, and students will find many of their classes influenced by these ideologies. I was shocked to learn recently of the firing of a biology instructor in a Texas community college who was terminated simply because he had chosen to teach, as he had done for years, that you could determine the gender of a child by the X- and Y-chromosome.
Sadly, this influence has already begun to take its toll in shaping an entire generation. In our society, many in Gen Y and Gen Z now identify as “nones,” that is those who have no religious affiliation at all.
According to religioninpublic.blog, 36% of Gen Z identify as Christians, while 48% are nones. Clearly, we are moving toward a post-Christian era, if we are not already there.
One Practical Solution
As a concerned grandparent, you may feel there is not much you can do to counter this devastating trend. You love your grandsons and granddaughters, but the amount of time you are able to spend with them pales in comparison to the hours they spend in the classroom, not to mention the additional exposure to Tik-Tok, Facebook and other social media.
But I believe God can and will use grandparents to head off these destructive trends in the lives of our grandsons and granddaughters. Writing in the DTS Magazine published by Dallas Seminary, Dr. Pete Deison noted that “… grandparents play a strategic role that parents cannot, one that is assumed in God's command, ‘Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.’” (Deuteronomy 4:9)
At this point you may be saying, “But I thought the primary role of grandparents was to spoil their grandchildren.” Or perhaps you are in the category of grandparents referenced by Dr. Josh Mulvhill in Biblical Grandparenting,
“Unequipped, unsure how, unaware of tools.”
The 16-part GrandCoaching™ online course offered by The Master Life Coach Training Institute (www.grandcoaching.org) can equip you and other grandparents to use the 21st-Century tool of Faith-based life coaching to positively interact with your grandchildren in a way that can counter the dangerous effects of the devastating modern trends we have previously discussed. You will learn how to develop strategic coaching skills such as empathetic listening, asking cultivating questions, and practicing caring communication. As you regularly communicate with your grandchildren, you'll become skilled at using a process that helps identify their present state, develop an understanding of a unique purpose for their lives, motivate them through effective goal setting, and encourage them while holding them accountable.
Now you may be saying, “I’m not sure I can do that!” In fact, you may be fearful of how to get started, afraid of being rejected by your grandchildren, or intimidated by the technology.
I have good news! As you already know, Paul reminded the Philippian believers of something that is true for every Christian grandparent. “I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
if you feel intimidated by the thought of taking an online course, let me assure you that our team has made GrandCoaching™ grandparent-friendly. The videos feature easy to follow discussion of the problems our grandchildren are exposed to, along with the strategies and techniques needed to address them with our grandchildren.
If you have not been as involved in the lives of your grandchildren recently, this would be a great time for you to shift to greater involvement. If your grandchildren live at a distance, technology makes it possible for regular face-to-face connection using Zoom or FaceTime.
Coaching Grandchildren: Multiple Benefits
As you become intentionally involved in the lives of your granddaughters and grandsons, using the skills developed as a Faith-based life coach through the GrandCoaching™ course, you will discover the following positive things taking place:
- You will build a bond, and in the process set a positive example
- You may actually have the opportunity to lead them to personal faith in Christ
- You will be strongly motivated to pray for each of them
- You will be in a position to encourage them while gently holding them accountable
- You will be communicating timeless Biblical truth to them, which will shape their worldview
- You will be preparing them to have an impact on others as you impact them
Years ago, when we first became grandparents, my wife Kathy and I determined to find a way to spend some time individually with each of our grandchildren. Each year as we would make vacation and ministry trips, we would take one grandchild with us. Several went with us to a conference center in Bermuda where I spoke; one traveled with us to Florida, another to New York City, and two joined us in visits to missionary friends, one in northern British Columbia, the other on the Texas-Mexico border. During our travels with each we had the opportunity to enjoy lots of fun. But we also had life-changing conversations that left a lasting impact. Even today our grandchildren reminisce with us about those trips.
Would you consider embarking on a journey with one or more of your grandchildren? That’s exactly what taking our GrandCoaching™ course will lead to. Maybe you've never thought about taking a course in life coach training, or that it could serve as a tool for positively impacting your grandchildren. Perhaps you feel intimidated by the challenge this new initiative would involve. Let me encourage you to prayerfully consider enrolling in our 16-part introductory course in Faith-based life coaching with a view to using the strategies and techniques you will learn to have a lasting positive influence on your grandchildren.
And by impacting the lives of your grandchildren, you'll be having a positive impact for Christ on our declining society. In other words, you’ll be countering cancel culture.
Don Hawkins, D. Min. is the Chief Content Officer for the Master Life Coach Training Institute and the President/CEO of Encouragement Communications. He hosts the Saturday evening call-in program “Encouragement Live,” and has authored over 25 books including Master Discipleship Today, Friends in Deed, and Never Give Up.