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Blessing your Adult Children while Living Far Away: A Word to Parents AND Church Leaders

How can parents bless and encourage their adult children even when they live far away?

I was reflecting on this after hearing a young mother in my mom’s group negatively talk about her parents. She wasn’t feeling supported with their 4 young children. I didn’t ask questions, but from what I gathered, her parents had moved away once their children were grown and were now serving on the mission field. My mom friend said, “I’m not going to do that to our kids.”

Obviously there is a lot that could be unpacked with this story and I don’t want you to read too much into it. But the conversation did cause me to consider this question:

“How do we as leaders encourage people to invest themselves in mission efforts that may take them away from their families, but also give them advice and suggestions for fulfilling the ministry they have to their own family?”

A practical question to ask people to consider is: “If you were living close to your adult children and grandchildren, what would be helpful to them?” And then, “How can you do those same things from a distance?”

Here are a few suggestions, but I know there are more:

1. Parents need help with daily chores, such as cooking meals. Obviously if you are living miles away, you can’t swing over with a home-cooked meal but you can send them $25 to use to order a pizza or takeout at one of their favorite places. Another way to help with this is that when you visit, bring or make a meal that they can put in their freezer and pull out on some busy night after you are gone.

2. Parents need help with babysitting. Consider utilizing skype, not only to stay connected, but even to give your son or daughter a break in the day. Could you read a book via skype to your young grandchild? Could you play 20 questions over skype or share some jokes or riddles? Maybe even play a version of Pictionary? No, it is not real babysitting. But it might give your adult child a 30 minute break to make dinner or clean the bathroom or even read the mail knowing that her child is being entertained and kept occupied. Not to mention the quality time and memories they are making with their grandparents!

3. Parents need to know you are thinking about them. A great way to do this is to send packages and cards in the mail…frequently! Make sure you send something to your adult children at times and not just the grandchildren. For Valentines’ Day my parents send a package for our kids, but also some money for Jon and I. We look forward to that and can use it for a babysitter and our own date night. We love it!

Your turn…how do we encourage people to invest in the lives of their children and grandchildren even from a distance?

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    March 27, 2015 5:23 amPosted 2 years ago
    Amy P

    As a mom with young kids, I can confirm that these are excellent ideas! And I’m fortunate that both sets of our parents have employed these at some time or another. One set is great about sending money for dates and takeout; the other is handier with technology and has indeed ‘babysat’ via FaceTime, especially when I had my hands full with a newborn (they would entertain the potty-training toddler sitting on the toilet while I went to put the baby to sleep – I was across the hall so I could hear the conversation and my mom would’ve been able to call me if my toddler was having trouble). Much nicer having my kids talk to their grandparents than play with a phone app!

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