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And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson



Smart Smartphone Connections with Teens

I’ve been intrigued by Peggy Leslie’s intentionality to keep in touch with her grandchildren, especially after she told me about her method for praying for their needs. In this Grandparenting UPGRADE, she shares how technology gives her a creative edge.

“‘Hi, Grandma!’ Quick hug. ‘Where's PaPa?’

“I heard that greeting again and again when my 12 grandchildren—now ages 9 to 27—were small,” Peggy says. “I still cherish that special bond they had with their grandfather.”

Grandchildren are truly a blessing, and I (Dawn) appreciate Peggy’s insight into seven cutting-edge ways to stay in touch.

She continues . . .

Gratefully, my grandchildren all lived in San Diego County, so we saw them often those days. Then they began to reach the busy teen years, and I realized I needed to be creative to keep in touch with them, not just because I love them, but because God gives grandparents a special role and unique influence in their grandchildren's lives.

Of all things, my smart phone saved the day!

It began when they were slow to respond to telephone calls or check their voice mail. That's when I began using my phone to . . .

1. Email

That worked a little better, but sometimes they didn't check their email.

Email did come in handy when one grandson spent a school year in Venice, and I didn't have international texting. So I emailed him once a week on his "SPD" – Special Prayer Day, the day of the week my husband Gene and I concentrate on him and his family for prayer.  I also send the grands ecards on their birthdays.

From emailing, I began to . . .

2.  Text

Voilá! They nearly always responded quickly. In addition to occasional notes or questions, I text them on their SPD.  

Often their replies go, "Nothing today, Grandma." But I always look forward to when they share deep needs in their lives. What a blessing!

Sometimes instead of regular texting, I use . . .

3. Words with Friends

My oldest grandson introduced me to this “app.” It's a game similar to Scrabble, with the option to drop a note to your opponent. This way, my teen and I are not only "chatting," but playing together.

Everybody knows about . . .

4. Facebook

Occasionally, I check out the "wall" for the grandchildren who have them. Once one grandson posted a need for a certain book for a school assignment. As our church librarian, I knew we had that book, and posted a comment to let him know.

Facebook is fine. Trouble is, most of the young folks have moved on to . . .

5. Instagram

The app is designed to share pictures or videos. Upload the photo or video to Instagram from the smart phone, then add a message or caption if desired. Often the photo itself tells the story.

6. Facetime (or Skype)

With this one, I can video-chat, real time, with my teens. It's wonderful to see their faces no matter where they are! I'm new at this one, but getting there.

7. Twitter

This app allows 140-character messages called "Tweets." My grandchildren don't use it, but if your teens do, go for it.

Proverbs 17:6 says, "Children's children are a crown to the aged....!" They’re a blessing!

Grandparents can bless the younger generation too (Genesis 48:8-9), and can point them to the Lord (Psalm 145:4) and influence them to grow in faith (2 Timothy 1:3-7).

This grandma is no techie, but she wants to keep in touch with the grandchildren she loves so dearly and to fulfill her God-given role in their lives. So she has bitten the bullet – or hit the Internet – with her smart phone.

It has been a smart – fun! – move.

Are you ready to "get smart" in order to keep in touch with the grandchildren God blessed you with?

Peggy Leslie is a long-time Bible teacher and international speaker. She and her husband Gene, married 51 years, are the parents of five grown children. They love to spend time with their 12 grandchildren and are blessed to have all of them living in San Diego County. She and co-author Donna Jeremiah have published two Christian mystery novels: Storm over Coronado and Intrigue in Coronado.

Graphic adapted, photo by Joas Silas,

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