I’m thrilled to be a grandpa and have been thinking a lot about what it means. A couple of years ago Jan and I went to a conference in Dallas called the Legacy Grandparenting Summit sponsored by The Legacy Coalition. Both the title of the conference and the sponsor make it clear their emphasis is upon the legacy grandparents can pass on to their grandchildren.

As important as the idea of legacy is, I was most impacted by the slogan Grandparenting is a Verb. I interpreted the slogan as suggesting there is a difference between having grandchildren and being a grandparent. To me being a grandparent suggests appropriate involvement with one’s grandchild or children.

I realize not all grandparents live close to their grandchildren, but I know you can be an involved grandparent even if you live far away. Before FaceTime became such a valuable tool of interacting with grandchildren, and before Jan and I moved, we communicated with our grandson by Skype.

Living close is a wonderful plus, but it doesn’t automatically ensure that having grandchildren means grandparents are engaged with them. There are lots of ways to be engaged with grandchildren; both the parents and the grandparents can work together to make it happen.

Three obvious observations I want to underscore are no two grandparents grandparent in exactly the same way, there aren’t any perfect grandparents, and being a grandparent is not the same as being the parent. As author Tim Challies notes, “Parenting falls primarily to mom and dad, not grandma and grandpa. Grandparents need to be willing to allow parents to be parents.”

Yet most grandparents worry about their grandchildren like they did their own children; we just can’t seem to help it. When a grandchild hurts, grandparents hurt as well – both physically and emotionally. I think it comes with being a grandparent.

Grandparents can have a tremendous positive impact and influence on their grandchildren; and that is what most of us desire. Our impact and influence, of course, starts with the example we set. And one of the most important things we can do in setting an example is to acknowledge when we are wrong and apologize.

One of the opportunities we have as Christian grandparents in terms of influence is having a godly and spiritual impact on our grandchildren. Pastor and writer Bob Russell offers the challenge that “Every grandparent should find ways to be a spiritual blessing to their grandchildren.” Beyond the example we set, perhaps as important as any spiritual blessing is our prayers for and with our grandchildren.

I don’t fully understand what it means, but I like the affirmation of Proverbs 17:6, “Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged” (NIV). Having grandchildren and being a grandparent is a wonderful blessing and privilege. The encouragement of Tim Challies’ words challenges me and I hope they do you as well, “Don’t just be a grandparent — be a distinctly Christian grandparent.”

Feel free to leave a comment below and/or share this post on Facebook or other social media.

Here is the link to the article by Bob Russell cited in this post:
https://www.bobrussell.org › ten-ways-to-bless-your-grandchildren

For Tim Challies articles search for Tim Challies on grandparents


This week marks one year since I loaded up my car, played golf the last time with three of my friends I had been playing with for years, and headed to Amarillo to join my wife who had left a week earlier. I had shed tears earlier in the morning when I left my son, but I was able to hold them off when I said good-by to my golfing partners until I got to the car and left the course.

My drive from Southern California to the Texas Panhandle was the longest and loneliest of my life. I checked into a Holiday Inn after 10 hours of driving, but it took a long time to finally go to sleep. The six hour drive the next day was a little easier, but my emotions were still up and down. The warm welcome from Jan, my daughter, our two grandsons, their dog, and our dog was comforting.

A year later I still miss a lot about Southern California. I miss our house and neighborhood of 32 years, I miss our many friends (especially those from Discovery Christian Church), I miss guest preaching (especially at New Day Christian Church and Westwood Hills Christian Church), I miss teaching at Hope International University and the wonderful people there, I miss the great variety of golf courses, and I miss In-N-Out Burger.

But we have adjusted and adapted to our new location and Amarillo is now our home. While I have made quite a few friends and enjoy our new house, we have not yet connected with people in our neighborhood. I regularly play golf with several guys—and year round even though it is often windy and is cold in the winter. I thoroughly enjoy my two part time jobs as the Bible teacher at Amarillo High School (dual credit with Amarillo College) and the Pastor to Senior Adults at Washington Avenue Christian Church. Jan and I both love our new church—the people and the staff. Not that there were not similar people in our previous places and churches, but we have met some wonderfully gracious and generous people in our new church and city.

The best and most fulfilling thing about our move last year is the opportunity and privilege to be near our daughter and fully engaged with our two grandsons. We enjoyed Christmas last year and both boys’ birthdays this year. On school days Jan picks up our three year from preschool and I pick up our second grader. A special bonus for me this past summer was being an assistant coach for our second grader’s baseball team.

Last year, the week before I left, my blog post was entitled A Bright Sadness. In that post I wrote “at this point I am hurting more thinking about what I am losing than what I am about to gain. Right now my bright sadness is sadder than it is bright. Soon, however, the brightness will outshine the sadness.” (You can read that post here https://bobmmink.com/2016/12/05/a-bright-sadness/)

One year later I am confident our move was the right decision. The brightness today does outshine the sadness of when we left California a year ago.

Please feel to leave a comment below (or email me at bobmmink@gmail.com) and/or share this post on Facebook or other social media.





After we celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary Jan and I went to Texas to spend the week with our two grandsons. Bobby, the older of the two, is now six and had just graduated from kindergarten. Ryan is two and out of daycare for June and July.

That means that Jan and I had them all day every day for five days. What a week—and I’m still exhausted! Even though I need my right knee and my left hip replaced, I’d do it again without hesitation. As a matter of fact, we will be doing it again later this month. The only difference will be I will have them without Jan for two and a half days. (Pray for me!)

One of the tee shirts I wore while there was a gift from Audrey (my daughter) a few years ago soon after Bobby was born. While walking in the park I asked Bobby if he could read it and concentrating on the front of my shirt he read, “Great DADS get promoted [I had to give a little help with this word] to GRANDPA.” And he flashed his wily smile.

I love the shirt and what it says, but I wouldn’t say I was or am a great dad (perhaps a good dad). I realize not every man wants to or can be a dad, but being a dad is one of life’s greatest privileges. It is also one of life’s greatest responsibilities. And it is a privilege and responsibility that never ends.

Often being a dad does provide the opportunity of becoming a grandpa. And if my daughter thinks that is a promotion I am thrilled. Promotion or not, being a grandpa, like being a dad, is a privilege and a responsibility. But most of the time being a grandpa is higher on the privilege side and lower on the responsibility side than being a dad.

Last week I was reminded of all of this and more. One thing that disappointed me was the realization of my lack of patience. Two year olds and six year olds need to be permitted to be six years old and two years old. But there were other times when I was at the other extreme being too lenient and permissive. That I believe is part of the privilege of being a grandpa.

Another thing I realized last week is that I am the grandpa and not a parent. There is a difference. While I have some responsibility of oversight and care when with them, that is not my primary role—I am a backup. And that again is part of the privilege and responsibility of being a grandpa.

But there are a few things that I’m not a backup for in being a grandpa. I’m not a backup in terms of loving those boys, caring about those boys, encouraging those boys, modeling the Lord to those boys, praying for those boys, and worrying about them. I know I’m not supposed to worry—I wasn’t and am not supposed to worry about my own children, but I did and do—and I do and will worry about my grandsons.

In case it isn’t obvious, I love being a grandpa–it’s a promotion!

Don’t hesitate to share these thoughts with others on social media and/or leave a reply below.

Photo courtesy of their grandmother—my wife!