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Grandparenting: Letters To My Grandchild On Serving Others

Updated on January 17, 2015

Those who have served will gain an excellent standing . . .

1 Timothy 3:13 (NIV)

Grandpa's make the best buddies and mentors.
Grandpa's make the best buddies and mentors. | Source

A Rite-of-Passage

The young boy you see before you today will become the man of tomorrow in just the time it takes to slip out of your shoes each night. As a father, grandfather, older brother, or uncle you can take time to help this young boy in your life to successfully venture out on his quest to manhood.

Boys seek out mentors as they grow into adulthood. It is part of their nature and meant to increase their awareness of leadership in life. They look to those around them, sometimes beyond, to give them inspiration on what it takes to be a man. If a youth does not have a role model in his life to show him the ropes, he will make up his own or adopt another viewpoint.

Have you ever noticed what happens when you crush the lead ant on a trail? The followers become disoriented and wander around in circles and then head off trying to find the proven path. Similarly, if a boy is not given a rite-of-passage they will wander around aimlessly through their teen and young adult years until they reach that mid-life crisis stage. When this happens, you may wonder why they have decided to quit their job and take some time to discover who they really are. I have seen this happen many times in families I worked with and in students I have taught.

For this reason, my husband writes letters to our grandson; to inspire in him a life purpose. He is instilling in him a sense of what it takes to be a man and a leader in today's world. It is what every mentor should guide young boys to become: a leader and not a sheep living a mediocre life accepting a life conformed to others impression of him. Through sharing of life's experiences, an older mentor, such as a grandparent, can help a young boy navigate the difficult passages of life to find truth and self-awareness.

The following is an excerpt form one of my husband's latest letters to our grandson. This letter addressed the virtue of serving others in life and how it is the mark of a good man.

It matters not whether it's your grandson or granddaughter, grandparents can make an impact on their lives as they interact with each other.
It matters not whether it's your grandson or granddaughter, grandparents can make an impact on their lives as they interact with each other. | Source

A Good Man Serves Others

. . . A good man thinks of others instead of just himself.

So... when you were playing soccer, did you encourage other team members? Did you tell them they were doing a good job? Did you give them a pat on the back and tell them, "way to go?" Even if they didn't do such a good job, sometimes all a person needs is a little acknowledgement to make them feel better.

When you have friends over to the house, do you let them decide what to do or do you make all the decisions? . . . I know you're not the same guy you were even a year ago. Like everyone else, you physically get older every year (you'll be in high school before you know it!). But, think back to when you were that little kid, and try to remember the times when someone older said something to you that made you feel good . . .

It's natural that little kids think more about themselves and what makes them happy. As you grow older, I want you to grow morally too. And one of the ways to do that is to make sure you take the time to reflect on things you could have done better. What are the things you could have done to make other people feel good about themselves? Where could you have lent a helping hand?

As I wrote before, there is an opportunity to help others in almost everything we do. There is always an opportunity to make others feel better about themselves . . . Remember that good men help and serve other people and are concerned about how other people feel. . . Enjoy life! There's nothing wrong with having fun, but remember to help others along the way. Do the right thing. And if you continue to do the right things, then you'll continue to grow into becoming that good man.

Do you believe a mentor makes a difference in a young boy's life?

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Cultivating The Rite-of-Passage

Besides writing letters, grandparents can set aside time to take their grandson(s) on special trips. This I refer to as a "quest to manhood" in the rite-of-passage. It is a social experience that factors in the cognitive reasoning a youth needs to make that transition into adulthood. Specifically, a time to have some "man" time and still discuss through a comfortable setting the issues of life. My husband says its great getting to eat meat-on-a-stick, scratch where you want, and belch with power!

This summer they plan to set out on a short kayak trip. They will enjoy the tranquility of the lake while sharing thoughts. I am always amazed at how men can speak volumes and gain insight without having to talk much to each other. It's the non-verbal communication or inference that means so much (we women can't understand this!). And I suppose somewhere on that trip they will discover how much they value each others friendship and enjoy being together. Somewhere on that trip a rite-of-passage will have been cultivated which will bridge the relationship between the two and lead to the making of a better man.

Ways To Build A Boy's Self-Awareness

  • Offer positive feedback on accomplishments
  • Notice and build his strengths, help him overcome his weaknesses
  • Spend a few hours a week with him. Take in a movie, go fishing, toss a baseball at the park, etc.
  • Celebrate special days: birthdays, graduations, etc.
  • Send them notes, letters, cards, emails, and texts to let them know you are thinking about them.
  • Encourage him to join a group of interest that will cultivate manhood such as Boy Scouts, YMCA, 4-H, Church Youth Group, or a quality sports team. These programs award and affirm achievements through projects, skills and talent.
  • Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
  • Help them to build character through ethical thinking and application.
  • Role model excellence
  • Be there for them!

Those who have served will gain an excellent standing . . .

1 Timothy 3:13 (NIV)


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