The cross : Are grandparents in a good position to pass the faith on to grandchildren?
Florence Bosviel: Grandparents occupy a special and privileged place. They are not at the forefront of the educational mission. They see their grandchildren on Wednesdays, during the holidays, which are a good time for loving listening. Between them there is less tension and there can be a lot of trust. Another advantage is that seniors generally have more perspective on their lives and more time to reflect on their journey in the faith.
What is the specificity of the transmission of faith?
FB: Faith is not transmitted as know-how. Rather like a know-how, and it goes well beyond. Faith gives meaning to our life: it is a path that joins that of our existence. God works in us. We must dare to bear witness to what faith transforms in us, even if there are periods of doubt or moments of bewilderment. In order for the word of the Gospel to begin to speak to the young person we are speaking to, whatever their age, grandparents can play the role of intermediaries. But the relationship to God is direct. Everyone can talk to him and hear himself say: “It is good that you exist and I love you. “
How to accomplish this mission?
FB: Let us dare to speak, pass on our experience. But it is through their appropriation that young people can have their own experience. They have a jump to make. We are the board allowing them to go from one bank to the other.
We can make them want to. Witness your faith with enthusiasm: it is not a straitjacket of constraints but on the contrary a source of joy and fulfillment. To start from their life experiences and share: “I too, in such and such circumstances, was very needy, and such and such a sentence from the Gospel came back to me and enlightened me. “
A certain number of grandparents feel guilty for not succeeding …
FB: Everyone has their own way of doing things depending on who they are, what they like. Some feel overwhelmed, others are worried. They should not hesitate to join a discussion group to support each other and give each other ideas. We must banish guilt. On the other hand, a certain uneasiness is the antidote to resignation.
We must strive to remain humble, authentic and maintain confidence. The more we engage in dialogue, the more the grandchildren push us to our limits. We speak to each other in truth, we lay bare, a reciprocity takes hold, we are on the same footing. Sometimes the transmission is then done in both directions!
→ TESTIMONIALS. Summer 2020, the reunion holidays with the grandparents
Do grandparents have to have parental consent?
FB: Things need to be clear. If the parents are in the refusal of religion, it is awkward to register against this refusal. It happens quite often that parents do not feel motivated to tell their children about it, but accept that it comes through their own parents.
A minimum of consensus is necessary. Praying, going to Mass with them can make sense, even if there is no parental relay, especially if we then take the time to come back to certain words: it is a great opportunity to hear their questions and to come back to the message of the Gospel!