I know we typically post interviews on Thursdays, but I wanted to conduct a special interview today with Cavin Harper, Founder of the Christian Grandparenting Network, based in Colorado Springs. Cavin recently interviewed me and Dianne on his new radio program, “Not on My Watch.” The program aired this past Sunday and will be available on the Christian Grandparenting Network website later today. We hope you will take a listen! In the meantime, I’d like to have Cavin share about his organization and passion for helping grandparents.
GTO: Welcome to our GTO blog! Cavin, you were asked to write the foreword for Grandparenting Through Obstacles. What in particular attracted you to this project?
Cavin: The stories from grandparents who have or are in the process of working through the major obstacles facing them and other grandparents today. I like that these are real-life stories; not theoretical jargon.
GTO: That’s what attracted us to the project too! We knew a lot of grandparents with incredible stories to share. You’re the Founder and Executive Director of the Christian Grandparenting Network, which is a national organization for grandparents. When did you start CGN, and what prompted you to do so?
Cavin: I started CGN (originally called ElderQuest) in 1998 to help those approaching “retirement” years re-evaluate what retirement really means. When my first grandchild was born, I knew God wanted me to challenge this generation to live for the next to make sure they grew up knowing the Lord. Over time I felt God wanted us to narrow our ministry’s focus to grandparents—to mobilize them to intentionally represent Christ to the next generations.
GTO: Grandparenting Through Obstacles focuses on the various challenges Christian grandparents may face when trying to impart their faith to their grandkids. What do you believe are the biggest challenges for Christian grandparents today?
Cavin: In many ways it’s the Baby Boomer grandparents themselves (which I am) who tend to be self-absorbed, focusing on their own agendas and goals. Too often we fail to recognize the things we do that alienate our grandchildren or adult children. Our job is to be authentic and compassionate without being judgmental in a world that is vastly different from the one we grew up in. We’re also challenged to cultivate intentional, inter-generational relationships. We’re in a unique position to build the bridges that impact the culture and reconnect the generations according to God’s design.
GTO: That’s an interesting perspective, and quite a challenge you throw out to Christian grandparents. How does CGN help today’s grandparents meet these challenges?
Cavin: We’re committed to building a movement of grandparents for Christ who are resolved to radically engage the next generations with truth, righteousness, and authentic faith. We aim to provide resources and opportunities to help these grandparents, and we work to create settings where grandparents and their grandchildren of all ages may grow, serve, and worship together. Some of the ways we do this include:
GrandCamps—an opportunity for grandparents to spend five days with their grandkids in an intensive time of relationship building, skill development, and spiritual formation
GrandAdventures—a variety of inter-generational events focused on serving others
G@P Groups and Grandparents’ Day of Prayer—gathering grandparents to worship and pray together
“Not on My Watch” Radio Program—a weekly broadcast to encourage, challenge, and motivate grandparents and parents to reach the next generation, often through the amazing stories and resources God has made available to us
Website—we use our website and other social media to help connect grandparents to the network of tools and people available to help them in their journey with their grandkids
Thank you, Cavin, for sharing your passion and the mechanisms you’ve developed to help Christian grandparents pass along their faith. I encourage you to check out CGN and all the resources it provides. While you’re there, don’t forget to download the September 2, 2012 podcast from “Not on My Watch,” where you’ll hear me and Dianne discuss Grandparenting Through Obstacles.