Monday, October 13, 2014

Grandchildren and Reverse Mentoring

Having grandchildren is a blessing.  Although sometimes care giving of grandchildren becomes a necessity, Rita and I are in a position to enjoy our grandchildren and then send them home to parents! The joy comes from watching them grow, learn, and come into their own as unique, gifted children of God.  They also teach me a lot.

Earl Creps in Reverse Mentoring presents an argument for young adults in the church helping their elders learn how to be more effective in ministry.  I think this also applies to interactive grandparenting as my grandchildren help me to learn things that I need to know.

First, they keep me informed about contemporary Christian music and the culture it reflects.  I don’t attend a contemporary worship service on a regular basis but through my grandchildren’s encouragement, I now have a couple of stations programmed into my car radio that play contemporary Christian music.  This makes them happy, but it also gives me an idea of the music that engages and informs young people as well as the theology it presents.

Second, they keep me updated on contemporary culture.  I probably would know nothing about the Avengers, Legos, or Darius Rucker if it were not for my grandchildren.  Why is this important?  Because I know that we cannot hope to engage our culture with the gospel unless we understand the values, heroes, and challenges communicated by popular films, music, and literature.  Becoming aware of the toys that either encourage creativity or stifle it helps to me to know what engages the minds of a new generation.  Innovation and creativity are important not only for personal satisfaction but for meaningful contributions to our faith and our society.

Third, they continue to teach me about digital technology.  If you have a problem with your iPhone or iPad, ask your teenage grandchild (and sometimes your preschool grandchild).  They understand tech intuitively and are comfortable with all types of digital gadgets.  As much as we may curse the digital age, we must learn to use it rather than letting it use us.  Grandchildren help us to see both the danger and the promise of technology.

Thank you, God, for the opportunity to be involved in these young lives both as a mentor and as a learner. 

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