The Spiritual Influence of Grandparents

From: Volume 5, Issue 2: Fall 2008, Ministry by and for Those Beyond the Age of 55 Pages 346-362


Though grandparents hope to influence the new generation, to pass on their values, understanding, wisdom, and faith, little empirical evidence exists that reveals if (or how) grandparents actually influence their grandchildren spiritually. To investigate this issue, the authors revisit the raw data from Allen's 2002 qualitative dissertation on children's spirituality and analyze what the 40 children in the field research said about their grandparents. The statements of these children as well as data from other empirical studies offer strong support for the idea that grandparents nurture their grandchildren's relationship with God through their frequent prayers, their stories, their clear example, their quiet witness, their availability, and especially their ability to lavish love, grace, and mercy on grandchildren in deep need of such gifts.



Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
© Biola University, Inc. All Rights Reserved.