Monday Jan 30, 2023

The Biblical Role of Grandparents – Dr. Josh Mulvihill, Part 1 (Family Series)

Dr. Josh Mulvihill joins Yvette to talk about the blessing of grandparents. What does the Bible say about a grandparent's role, and how can grandparents be a blessing to homeschool families?

Come back Wednesday and Thursday for the rest of this conversation.

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Biblical Role of Grandparents – Dr. Josh Mulvihill, Part 1 (Family Series)

Watch this full conversation on our YouTube channel.

Dr. Mulvihill answers these questions and covers the following topics this week:

  1. What is the biblical role of grandparents
  2. What is the role of grandparents in homeschooling
  3. What about grandparents who DON’T support homeschooling?
  4. How can grandparents be engaged in homeschooling? How can they help lighten the load for parents?
  5. What about long distance?
  6. How can parents and grandparents work together to homeschool children?
  7. How can kids serve grandparents?
  8. What are the benefits of having grandparents involved?

Josh Mulvihill is the Executive Director of Church and Family Ministry at Renewanation. He served as a pastor for 18 years, has a PhD in Family Ministry, serves on the board of AWANA, and is the author or editor of ten books on parenting and grandparenting including Biblical Grandparenting, Preparing Children for Marriage, Biblical Worldview, and his latest 50 Things Every Child Needs to Know Before Leaving Home. He is married to Jen. They homeschool their five children and live in Victoria, MN. Josh blogs at, enjoys camping, fishing, reading a great book, and a DIY project on their hobby farm.




  • We are working on a new movie! Garritt has begun pre-production on a new feature-length documentary on education. Support the project here.
  • The Family Series will continue with interviews from Dr. Josh Mulvihill, Dr. Matthew McDill, Natalie Mack, Misty Bailey, and more!

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Podcast Transcript:


There's some pretty key influencers that help a young person develop their worldview, their belief system, and parents and grandparents are first and second. And then, of course, church and school are high up on that list as well.

Hey, everyone, this is Yvette Hampton. And welcome back to the Schoolhouse Rocked podcast in Welcome to one of our episodes of the Schoolhouse Rocked Family Series. That's what we're doing right now, and we are so excited to be in the middle of this series because we're talking about all the important things that encompasses us as a family, right?

We're talking about marriage and parenting and siblings and grand parents because that is part of the family puzzle. And so I am so excited to have Josh Mulvihill back with me today. If you'll remember, he was on with me. Josh, When was that? Josh I want to say maybe about a year ago.

About a year ago, Yeah.

Yeah. When you saw your new book, 50 Things Came out, we will link to that episode because that is one of my favorite episodes. As a matter of fact, several weeks ago we had I guess it was couple of months ago now, we had our 500th episode of the Schoolhouse Rock podcast, and Abby and I talked about what some of our favorite episodes were in the five plus years and 500 episodes that we've been doing this.

And that was one of my favorite episodes because it was so impactful to me and just thinking through like, how do we prepare for our kids to leave our home? And so we'll put a link to that. But Josh, welcome back to the podcast. I'm so excited to have you back. But before we get into our conversation, I want to say thank you to our sponsor, B.J. you press home.

Every child has a unique individual learning style. B.J you press has video lessons with engaging teachers to lead your children through each of their academic subjects. These experienced teachers will present lesson content from multiple angles so your children can absorb information at a comfortable pace. Visit their website at BJU Press Homeschool dot com to see what courses are available for your students.

All right, Josh, welcome back to the podcast. I am so glad to have you with me this week to talk about grandparents. Introduce yourself to our audience. You may not be familiar with you yet.

Yeah, Good to be back. Ivette And hello everyone. I'm Josh Mulvihill, and I serve with an organization called Renew a Nation. And we exist to transform culture by helping children develop a biblical worldview. And I assume most listening, Biblical worldview is not new. But in case there's a few that that don't really understand what that term means, we're we're really talking about a belief system and wanting kids to believe and live according to the Bible, not the ideas of the world.

And of course, that's a huge challenge right now in the world that we live in. And as we talk about grandparenting today, you know, there's some pretty key influencers that help a young person develop their worldview, their belief system. And parents and grandparents are first and second. And then, of course, church and school are high up on that list as well.

So we live in all those arenas as an organization married to Jen for 22 years and we have five kids. Our oldest is a junior in high school and our youngest is seven, and we are spaced about two years in between a middle schooler, two grade schoolers and so we're in the thick of it. We've homeschooled since day one, since our oldest was five and kind of have learned as we went, never expected to do that, but it has been a huge blessing and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

And we live in the great state of Minnesota. We just got six inches of snow today, so my kids are actually outside frolicking in it. They got the snowmobile out and got it started. We got a 40 year old snowmobile. So they were pretty pumped. They got it going on one pull.

That's so cool. Snowmobiling is fun. We actually I've been on a snowmobile one time and that was when Garret and I got married and we went to Mammoth in California for our honeymoon and we got to ride on snowmobiles and it was super fun and super cold. And I remember just being frozen by the end of the day, but it was such a blast.

So yeah, that's that's awesome. Though, though it wouldn't be worth living in Minnesota to me because I can't. I can't. I can't do the cold like that. I just can't do it. But I don't know, it's fun to visit and it's kind of like get.

Cold in Minnesota.

Yes. Now, do you say Minnesota? Oh.

Yeah. I mean, there you go. You got you got to pull out the you betcha this and the don't you know. So that is the key one. If you want to know, it's okay, o.P or let's go.

How do you read that?

It's got a whole range of meaning depending on how and when it's said, you know, So, you know, don't you know?

Oh, there you go. So funny. Yeah. So now would you be like, Oh, I just dropped my cup like.

Yes, yes, yeah, yeah.

See, I could fit right in for this now. Yeah, that's awesome. Well, if you guys are watching this on video, you might be looking at Josh and you're probably thinking, What in the world is this young guy doing talking to us about grandparents? And you also might be thinking, I'm not a grandparent, so I don't need to listen to this.

Well, it's likely that your kids have grandparents and you probably have grandparents and your one day going to be a grandparent. And so this episode is for you, but it's also maybe for your parents to listen to. We are going to talk about the importance of grandparents in the lives of our kids. And it really is an important role that they have.

And so I'm Josh, maybe just give us a little bit of background on why you you are kind of an authority, even though you're not a grandparent yet. What what gives you the right to be here talking to us about grandparents?

Yes. Well, the the easy answer is the Bible. You know, it's I was Pastor for about 20 years, and partway through my pastoral ministry, I realized the importance of the home and the discipleship of children and decided, you know what, I think this is a pretty big passion of mine. I want to do this well as a shepherd.

So I went back to get a Ph.D. in family ministry for the purpose of of equipping parents to disciple children. And then in that process, I read something on grandparenting. I can't remember exactly where, but I, I approached my professors and I said, I assume there's got to be like this mountain of stuff on Christian grandparenting. Can you point me to it?

Because, you know, there is with parenting and they basically said, we're unaware of that. Why don't you do some research and come back? And I found seven books, mostly on self-published and on prayer and then one DVD series. And I couldn't find a single church that I could find that was equipping grandparents. And so I spent many years just studying what the Bible said from cover to cover on grandparenting and wrote about it and at it.

God use that in pretty considerable ways. There's now there's a seven book series out on grandparenting that has my name on it, which still is like, you know, there's there's some unexpected things in life and that's one of them. But how that happened, they went on family life and Dennis Rainie leaned over during a break and said, Josh, I'm going to let everybody know about your book on grandparenting after the break.

What's the title? And I said, I don't have a book. Dennis. And he said, Well, you have 3 minutes to give me a title and you have seven weeks to get it in print. And so that's how the first one came out. And then it just kind of rolled from there. But, you know, the reality is I'm not the authority on grandparenting.

God's word is. And so I think any faithful pastor opens up the Bible and says, here's what God says on this topic or any subject. And surprisingly, nobody had done that on grandparenting to the degree that I did just the biblical theology of. And so I got to use that. And I joke sometimes that God spoke through a donkey so he could speak through me.

So here we go. Giddy up.

Well, we will not call you a donkey, but there you go. Absolutely. And I love that you just point it straight back to God's word, because it has all of what we need for life. Right. So we're going to talk about I want to jump off with a biblical role of grandparents. But before we do, let's take a quick break.

We'll be right back. We want to thank all of our sponsors for making this show possible. B.J., you press home, homeschool CTC, Math, apology and Iaw without them, we wouldn't be able to do this. Visit this show notes for links to these great companies and thank them for supporting the Schoolhouse Rock podcast. We are back with Josh Mulvihill.

And it's so funny, during the break there was this crinkling sound and I was like, Is that a bag of chips? It's like, No, it's my Bible.

It's like, it.

Could be better, better his Bible than chips. The chips are just.

Going to take a bite here real quick, right.

Right in the middle of the podcast. Oh, man. As long as they're ruffles with ridges, you're fine, because those are the best kind of chips to eat. So anyway, we are not here to talk about chips. We're here to talk about grandparenting. And I would love to know from you, just as you have studied God's Word, what is the biblical role of grandparents?

In a Word, I summarize it as disciple maker, which in the research that I did, only about 25% of grandparents would land in that category about three quarters. Don't they understand their role to be something different? And it's helpful, I think, to make a distinction about what the world says the role of a grandparent is versus the Bible, and it's pretty significant and stark.

And once I mention a few of the kind of the key ideas of the world, you know, people pretty quickly go, Yeah, I recognize that. But they're subtle, but they're impactful and it's helpful for us that are not grandparents to understand this because we sometimes encourage these kinds of behaviors and goals and we want to do what we can to help our grandparents, to be intentional Christian grandparents, and to really help to work towards the same outcome that we have as parents.

We have the same goal, but we have different roles as parents and grandparents. So the two things I like to summarize that the world says about grandparents aunts is the idea of indulgence. And and that comes with the idea of basically we say we need to live separate lives, don't overstep, don't be a burden. You kind of live your world will live ours and you know, will.

We'll get together at certain times of the year, holidays, birthdays, important times. But essentially we live completely separate existence. And what ends up happening is there's this emotional distance that happens because of the physical distance, and it becomes really difficult then for grandparents to do what God's word calls them to do because of that distance. The second one is the idea of indulgence.

So we got independence, we got indulgence to ise ad you'll recognize this with the idea of spoiling grandkids and having fun as that as the key goal. And of course I have no problem with grandparents having fun and giving good gifts to to their grandkids. But when that becomes kind of the end goal and the main thing, it's just short of where God's Word has us.

So the Bible, man, it has a lot to say about grandparenting. If you look up the word grandpa aren't in a concordance, you're going to only see a few few verses listed. The issue, though, is we need to come to God's Word on his terms, not ours. And so the Bible has a ton of things to say and this is might be a fun activity for you to do with with a concordance just to open it up.

And you can look look for these terms. A fun little study to do on your own. Look for the terms children's children sons, son, fathers or fathers, father, sometimes generations, sometimes family, depending on on its usage. And so when we start to look at terms like that, suddenly it's like, wow, the Bible has a lot to say about grandpa and and here are a few of my favorite passages.

Deuteronomy four nine may be the most concise in the Bible. It says this Teach these things to your children and your children's children. And of course, the these things is in reference to God's law, the Ten Commandments, which are introduced. Then in Deuteronomy five, my all time favorite is Psalm 78, verses four through seven. And in this passage, the psalmist lays out a couple of methods to disciple the next generation.

He talks about telling your testimony, talks about tell the glorious deeds of the Lord is might and the wonders that He has done. So our testimony, our story is not the point, it's the pointer. We make much of God because our kids need to worship God. They're going to worship something and we want them to have this great view of God.

And then the Bible also in Psalm 78 talks about teach the law. And of course, that may be the most repeated repetitive phrase command to grandparents in the Bible is this idea of teaching them the law. And of course, when we start to get into the to the terminology of teach, we get into the realm of discipleship and education and home schooling.

Yeah. And so we can very easily draw a line to grandparents having a a God designed role in the home education arena because of that, you know, that command, like I teach these things but some 78 that that portion ends with this I'll just read it here. It says tell and teach essentially for what purpose? It says so that they should set their hope in God, that salvation language.

And that's one that's obviously our our hope is parents and grandparents and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. And that gets into the kind of great commission talk, you know, teach them these things. And and so that, you know, I look at that getting into sanctification and discipleship and in in that arena. And so, you know, the Bible gets really prescriptive with some of the things that grandparents are to do and teaching is one of those.

So that ties up our conversation today for what can there contribute should partnership role be in in home education and manage it. I look at Scripture and I think it's it's a big piece. It can be a big piece of our pie.

Yeah. Yeah. What's so interesting about that is, you know, you talk to young moms and to homeschool moms, and when we're in the thick of it, when we've got, you know, lots of kids crawling all over us and we're homeschooling and we're trying to take care of our family and doing all the things that we do throughout the day.

It can be sometimes very hard to spend time just really digging into God's word. You know, I'm in a season in my life right now where my girls are older and it's it's much easier for me to spend time just studying the word of God and really digging deep. But when my girls were little, it was it was harder for me.

I still did it, but I didn't get as deep as I wanted to because I just couldn't. I had more demands on my time. But grandparents, looking at the life of a grandparent, typically grandparents seem to have more time because they don't have the responsibility of raising children in their home, you know, typically. And so it seems that they they may have more time to really, really dig deep and to really understand scripture and how amazing to take their understanding of God's word and be able to pour that into the lives of their grandchildren and their children, of course, as well.

But leaving that legacy for them, that's just an amazing responsibility that they have. And so you're saying it's not just something that they can do, it's something that they should do. And God is actually telling grandparents this is what you're to do to teach. Right. But in order to teach it, they have to know it. And and that's a high calling.

That's a very high calling for grandparents. And I don't think many grandparents think about that. I mean, I've never actually really thought much about that until this conversation right now that we're having. But wow, that that is a big responsibility that they have.

Yeah, I think the big takeaway is this For those of us that aren't grandparents, it means that God has a God designed role for your kids, grand parents and that means as parents, we need to open the gate, inviting that in and not to. I believe it's not pleasing to the Lord if we don't allow a grandparent to do what God's asked them to do.

Now, of course, that raises a whole host of questions about family dynamics and what do you do in these instances. But just in general, you know, I think that is pleasing to the Lord for us to say, I'm going to do everything I can in my power to assist a grandparent to do what God's called them to do.

Now, there are instances where we may need to have boundaries or, you know, things are just destructive and toxic. And so we need to you know, we need to close that gate. But I think there's a difference between difficult and destructive. And we can work through difficult. We need to put boundaries around the destructive and and open the gate when possible.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, there's so much more to talk about in the on the topic of grandparenting. And so we are going to come back on Wednesday. We're out of time for today. But Josh, thank you so much for joining us today. Where can people find out more about you and your ministry?

Renew a nation dot org.

Make those links in the show notes. Thanks so much for being with us today. Have a great rest of your day and we'll see you back here on Wednesday By the homegrown generation. Family Expo is back. The Homegrown Generation Family Expo is a live and fully interactive online conference coming March six through nine. Registration is now open at homegrown generation dot com.

It'll be four days of nonstop encouragement in five that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Registration includes lifetime access to every session. Mark your calendars for March 6th through ninth and visit homegrown generation to register today.


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