Godly Grandparenting Matters: November 2021
This is a new monthly column that shares tips, books, and other resources to help you in your intentional grandparenting journey. If you have an activity or resource to share, please contact Jane McGreevy (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lynn Dayton (email@example.com). If you'd like to join the grandparenting email list, please contact Dorothy Lancaster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A message from Jane McGreevy and Lynn Land, Generations Ministry Co-Chairs: Grandparenting looks different for many of us, especially during this pandemic year. Some grandparents have babies, while others have teens and even grown children. Some are long-distance, some are right around the corner. We love this idea Scharlene Ringer implemented with her granddaughter this year, and we asked her to share it with our congregation. Read on to learn about how the Lord led her to a creative way to spend time together while doing things she and her granddaughter love.
Activity, submitted by Scharlene Ringer: The beginning was a seed of an idea that was planted in my heart during the Rev. Brian McGreevy’s class on C. S. Lewis. He related how J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis read, edited, and critiqued each other’s writings. When COVID hit in March 2020, the idea bore fruit in my life. My then twelve-year old granddaughter Grace, who lived in Los Angeles at that time, suddenly found herself attending school on Zoom and confined to the inside of her home, not only because of the virus but also because of California fires, which made it impossible to breathe healthily outside. Our regular family vacation on Fripp Island, which had happened every year for fifteen years, had to be cancelled, and I was despairing with the realization that I would not see my four grandchildren at all that summer. I determined to Zoom with them once a week to keep in touch.
During one such Zoom session with Grace, I told her how J.R.R. and “Jack” (Lewis’s nickname) had worked together on each other’s literary drafts; Grace, a budding author herself, was captivated by the idea. At that time she had begun writing a book entitled The Guardians of Everleaf. She and I agreed that we would each write a chapter of our own book once a week and come together on Zoom to refine the chapters with each other’s help. So the adventure began, which ended up being one of the major joys of my life, and got me through COVID containment with astounding pleasure and fulfillment.
My biggest problem at the time was to match her in writing volume by composing a chapter a week, so I asked God to give me the idea for my book. Grace loves fantasy and created worlds, and I wanted to meet her where her interests lay, so I began with the story of two teens, Grace’s age, who have been separated from each other by a family relocation. A strange portal allows them not only to communicate, but actually to go on adventures together, receiving assignments from the heavenly hosts. The conflicts are all based on current events. Scriptures abound in each chapter as the two girls wield their Swords of the Spirit to fight the enemy. I borrowed heavily from the Bible and favorite Christian authors. The Christian worldview and how to live as a Christian teenager were the focus, and all sorts of travels take place, from space and the ISS all the way to the imaginary undersea world Atlandsea.
The world that God created in my imagination was a delightful surprise; I had to depend on Him and His inspiration for every chapter. Many mornings I’d wake up with new ideas swirling in my mind, and I’d head to my computer to write the next chapter.
Grace’s and my projects have continued to this day, with my book totaling seventy chapters so far, and her two books adding up to forty-plus chapters. Once Grace completed her first book, we had it bound at Staples; she recently finished her second book, Wings, and the bound copy has illustrations in each chapter which she drew, colored, and scanned into the text. She has now begun a sequel to her first book and is well on her way. She calls me “Jack” and I call her “J.R.R”—as we jokingly compare ourselves to the greats. The positive impact of our writing together blossomed and transformed our relationship into new depths.
What amazing surprises God has for us sometimes as grandparents, new joys we could have never imagined happening in our old age. I am so grateful for the bonds that have formed between my granddaughter and me in these weekly meetings, and I encourage other grandparents to initiate an ongoing creative project with a grandchild, either on Zoom or in person. God is faithful and will give you the ideas and the help you need.
Book recommendation, submitted by Caroline Rhodes, If Jesus Came to My House: This treasured classic is a story of a young boy imagining what he would do if Jesus came to his house. He imagines Jesus as a boy his age, and how he would welcome him, offer his best toys, make him tea (the author was British), and give him the best chair as well as gifts from his garden. It is a sweet transition when the boy keenly acknowledges that Jesus will not physically come to his house, but that he can welcome Jesus in his heart by “doing all I would for Him for other folks instead.” I read this to my children and now read it to my little granddaughter Rhodes. She is too young to understand it just yet, but it is always a delightful reminder to me that at any moment we could be entertaining angels, or have an opportunity to show God’s love to others in the simplest of ways: opening our hearts and perhaps our homes to those he brings to us, both young and old.
There is an original two-color edition, and now a full-color and new-illustrations edition that delights!