After the birth of her first grandchild, Lynette Nabity found herself at the local bookstore looking for books and resources on grandparenting. Lynette was beyond excited for this new season as a grandparent and wanted to do it well. She discovered one book on crafts and zero that shared direction and tools for being intentional and purposeful, connecting deeply throughout the years, discipling, and sharing faith stories.
“How do you build that relationship with them?” Lynette asked with all seriousness. “I wanted to know how to be more intentional with my grandchildren, so that I could connect more deeply with them, and more than arts and crafts with them or watching that weekend ball game from the sidelines.”
Fast forward five years, Lynette and her husband, Steve, were discussing their grandparenting roles again. Later that evening while scrolling through social media, Lynette came across the Legacy Coalition Grandparenting Summit. She showed it to Steve and convinced him to attend.
“Last year when Steve and I went to the Summit in Des Moines,” Lynette shared, “Steve was a bit reluctant. It was a two-day event and we both thought that might be a bit much grandparenting talk, as in what could they talk about for two full days?! However, this appeared to be exactly what we had been looking for. It was incredibly engaging, full of great insight and information, and was fantastic. Steve and I were amazed at the content shared and all we learned. Speakers discussed everything from the effects of technology on children, ways to lean into and engage with grandchildren of all ages, long-distance grandparenting, praying for them with passion and purpose, cultural issues they are dealing with, etc. It was all very pertinent and applicable to becoming an Intentional christian grandparent and passing on your faith.”
When the Nabity’s returned, they shared about the Summit with a small core group - the Eccleston’s and Wyant’s. Together they watched the video series “Grandparenting Matters” with the study guide and decided other grandparents would be interested.
“The excitement the Nabity’s had spread to all of us was fun,” Lori Eccleston shared. “The more we read about the conference and did the study, along with knowing how many times in the Bible it says that we are to spread our faith throughout the generations, we knew this was something we needed to do. God affirmed to all of us that we should host the next conference for others.”
The Legacy Grandparenting Summit will be simulcast and hosted at Citylight Omaha's West location on October 19, 2023. It will be a space for learning a vision on how to do intentional Christian grandparenting, for worship and to learn from leaders with years and years of experience and education on how to reach the next generation.
Lori’s husband, Harry, said,
“In the study, it was cool to hear all the ways and ideas that you can pass on your wisdom and experiences that are interesting and that the grandkids could maybe listen to. After learning more about the conference and ministry, I learned that most grandparents expect the kids to enter the grandparent’s sphere, but it’s the opposite. As grandparents, we need to lean in, hear what the grandkids are doing and in their space. It’s amazing. I have noticed that grandkids will tell the grandparents things in life or their thoughts before telling their parents. I want to be ready when that happens.”
David and Terry Wyant said about the conference,
“it’s now another opportunity and a way to share the Gospel with all ages. We’ve learned how at every stage of life, we are not alone. We understand now that most grandparents are in similar situations. This study and conference can be a support for the grandparents. Especially for those who can’t see their grandkids all the time. One other thing that stood out was the importance in resolving conflict first with your adult child and then the grandkids.”
Everyone in the City Group acknowledged that grandparents want to finish strong and to continue growing strong in their faith and to pass that on to their kids and grandkids. Lynette said,
“You love your grandchildren and want to do everything well, and there are now better tools out there on how to share, how to love and how to impact them.”
“You think of a giant teeter totter. On one end is our world and on the other end are the parents. For the parents it might feel their end is always on the lower side. But if grandparents are with them, the teeter totter becomes more even. We want to come alongside our children to be a support in raising their kids. The importance of us stepping into our grandkids' world can be big and it opens doors.”
Dave and Terry replied
“a lot of grandparents are stuck. Stuck in just going to the game and giving presents. These tools and information from the conference can help go beyond that. You can become a safe zone for your kids and grandkids even if you are away from them.”
The pressure or familiar messages from our society says, “go play.” A few of the members said that only goes so far. Unanimously they agreed that with grandkids, you have a great opportunity to lean into them and teach and be there when they need you. You’ve got to want that relationship and take the time.
Harry shared encouragement by saying,
“don’t be afraid of it. This ministry can only help. There is a huge chasm with information technology but you don't have to be afraid of that. You can bridge that and there are tools to improve and to help you. And, there is a network of people here to help. That’s the biggest takeaway for me. Before, I thought I didn’t have much to offer. But, really, you do have a lot to offer. For me, considering my vocation has been building and fixing homes and structures, I can teach my grandkids to build, I can show them how to use all the equipment and how to be safe. I get to do this with him. I want my grandkids to feel they are that important to me. I can use what I know to build relationships with them and to let them know they are safe.”
The Nabity’s eyes have been opened since the conference and some of their encouragement would be to be more intentional with what you say to your grandkids.
“The more you can speak that to them,” Steve and Lynette shared, “it becomes more of who I am to them. The world and school can be hard, but if they just have one more set of people in their life that they know who love them and care for them and will always be there for them, it can be the difference for them. Also, ask more questions than lecture to them. It’s not what you give them, it’s the experiences and the memories where you can then go back and say, “remember when we did this?”
As the group looked back to when they were all young parents, each of them began to share bite size words of wisdom...
“Don’t sweat the little stuff in light of eternity. A lot of life is small stuff, and it is hard to recognize that when you are in it. Try to step back and take everything into consideration.”
“There is unlimited grace. If you really mess up and really doubt if your kids will ever come back, to trust Christ and that He has them. He will not let go of you nor your kids. The kids do come back. Trust God with every parenting because he loves your kids more than we can ever.”
“Express Christ with everything you do and say. When you are in the middle of young kids and teens, you can forget. Also, slow down and be intentional with your little ones.”
“Be grace-filled and kind and give them an example of hard work and talk about it with your kids. Don’t get caught up with the little things. If you are one minute late, or a half hour off, don’t be hard on them or yourself. Be caring and give your kids an explanation so they learn.”
The Legacy Conference happens only once per year and is the only national gathering focused on Christian grandparenting. Each couple wants other grandparents to know they are wanted and needed for this conference and to register today. The conference along with the resources they have read and studied have now given each of them a vision on how to be better grandparents going forward.
“You know before I would correct my grandkids but now I am more aware of laughing with them more,” Terry said. “Just to be silly with them, tease them and be there in life with them. Your grandkids like to laugh and giggle so have fun!
“It’s now on my mind the question of ‘how many weekends do I have left with them,’” Lori shared with seriousness. “Larry said the time we have with our grandchildren is so limited. If you see your grandkid 3 hours per year, pause and ask how I can be more intentional with them, so you don’t waste it.”
The Nabity’s say that they now want to have a plan on how to see each of their grandkids during the year and what they’ll do with them.
“We meet and ask each other what we are going to do, and when, and how often with each child. We want to be intentional on what we’d like to implement. We are not there yet, but that's a goal now!”
Harry and Lori now see their grandkids differently. They share that they are
“more affectionate and we intentionally give them a hug. We are less negative or disciplinarian with them. We tell our grandkids more stories from the past and how it made us feel. Those stories become real to them. We are more encouraging with them too.”
Terry concluded by sharing this,
“it isn’t done with us. I tell my kids that I’m still going to be there for them and that I am interested in them. I tell them I am still growing, and I want to learn from you. I encourage grandparents to always have conversations.”
Grandparents are needed and vital to the Church, to each of their families, and to the next generation. To learn more on how and in the community of others just like you, register for October’s conference at citylightomaha.org/grandparents.