FamilyLife Today® Podcast

What’s My Call?

with Larry and Gladine McCall | February 7, 2020
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Larry and Gladine McCall, authors of the book "Grandparenting with Grace," talk about the special calling of grandparents. While grandparents can certainly bring the fun factor into grandchildren's lives, a grandparent's role is so much more. The McCalls tell how they've spoken into their grandchildren's lives in a positive way.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Larry and Gladine McCall talk about the special calling of grandparents. While grandparents can certainly bring the fun factor into grandchildren’s lives, a grandparent’s role is so much more.

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What’s My Call?

With Larry and Gladine McCall
February 07, 2020
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Bob: One of the key ways that we, as grandparents, can connect spiritually with our grandchildren is around prayer. Here’s how Larry McCall does it with his grandkids.

Larry: We’ll say: “How can I pray for you this week, sweetie?” “How can I pray for you this week, buddy?” They’ll share things and we’ll probe: “Last week you said you weren’t getting along with your sister, and we prayed about that. How’s it been going? How would you like us to pray this week?” We’ll ask and then we’ll pray with them, even if it’s over the video call; that way they can hear us praying.

And we’ll ask them to pray for us. I’ll share struggles on my heart, even with the grandchildren, and say, “Would you pray for Papa this way or that way?” It’s sweet to hear them praying for Papa and Grandma.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 7th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. You can find us online at We’ll talk today about a variety of ways we can connect heart to heart and soul to soul with our grandchildren. Stay with us.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. You guys set your date for Grand Camp yet for the kids? [Laughter]

Ann: It’s starting to stir in my mind.

Bob: I was watching your wife while we were talking about this; and I was seeing her go, “Oh, I want to do this.” We are talking about grandparenting this week, and we’ve got Larry McCall and his wife Gladine joining us. Welcome guys.

Larry: Thank you, Bob.

Gladine: Thank you.

Bob: Larry and Gladine live in Winona Lake, Indiana. Larry has—you’ve been a pastor there for 40 years?

Larry: Almost—38.

Bob: Wow! Larry has written a book called Grandparenting with Grace. As you have entered into these years, you were asked to speak on it; and you said, “I’d better see what the Bible has to say about this.”

Larry: Yes.

Bob: And that speaking has now turned into this book. It’s been a good conversation for us to have because I think all of us enter into the grandparenting years without a good roadmap to follow as we look around and say, “Okay, Lord, what’s our assignment in these years?”

Of course, that’s going to vary, as we’ve already said, based on how your kids invite you in and welcome you in. But I think, as grandparents, we can be the initiators there to say, “We’d like to do this,” and see how our kids respond; right?

Larry: Yes. When we taught that first grandparenting class in our church, I was amazed that almost all the grandparents in our church came to that class. It was amazing the percentage of grandparents who came—which told me something—there’s a lot of grandparents who want to know how to be biblical grandparents/how to be gospel-centered grandparents. It was encouraging to us to see the hunger. It’s not that people don’t care; it’s that they’ve never been trained/they’ve never been taught.

Ann: Well you talk a lot in your book about being intentional as a grandparent. What are the baby steps to that? What are we being intentional about?

Larry: I think the first thing, Ann, is to ask the question: “What does God call me to as a grandparent?” We get most of our cues about grandparenting from maybe the way our parents or our in-laws grand-parented our kids. Or maybe it was how our grandparents grand-parented us; and we think: “I want to do it the way they did it,” or “I don’t want to do it the way they did it.” So it’s just reacting to the way we’ve been treated or other people in our family have been treated.

But to start with the question: “What is God’s calling on me as a grandparent?”—I think asking that question will launch us in a direction, and we can learn the steps as we go down that journey.

Bob: As you think about your grandparents, did they leave markers for you to follow? What are your most distinct memories about how your grandparents engaged with you?

Larry: I grew up in a commendable family, but my grandparents were not intentionally engaged with us grandkids. My maternal grandparents had twenty-some grandkids, and so I just got little bits and pieces of their time. They were hardworking, good people/church-going people, probably believers, but I don’t remember having any personal conversations with my grandparents.

Bob: Gladine, how about you?

Gladine: It was similar for me. It was a generation I think when children were meant to be seen and not heard, in some aspects. We were probably loved but there wasn’t that one on one.


Bob: I’m thinking back to my grandparents, who—I had two sets of living grandparents. One lived in Buffalo, New York; the other in Flint, Michigan. We were in St. Louis at the time. There was no FaceTime®. We had long distance phone calls, occasionally, where I’d get on and tell them what I was doing. They would say, ”Well, that sounds great”; and that was my five minutes with my grandparents. My mom’s parents would come at Christmas to see us; but I don’t remember a whole lot of intentional coaching, training, or engagement with us. And maybe that was just a generational difference.

You’re trying to flip it a little bit and say: “Fun and relationship—yes, let’s make that a part of it. Let’s also be investing at a deeper level than just grandparents are here to have fun with the grandkids and spoil them.”

Larry: We love having fun with our grandkids; but I think, as Christian grandparents, we want to go beyond that; we want to keep eternity in view. We want to keep the souls of these grandkids in view. In addition to having all that fun, also influence them toward Christ.

Dave: It’s interesting listening to you, and even talking about this topic—I haven’t thought about this in decades—my grandparents, Leland and Hallie Crouse—I got to know them really well when I turned seven. My mom and dad got divorced. I didn’t know at the time, but “Why did we move from New Jersey to Ohio?”—because that’s where my mom’s parents were; and now, it’s the only stability in our life. I didn’t even know my dad’s parents; I don’t even remember meeting them.

Larry: Wow.

Dave: But my mom’s parents, Leland and Hallie, were the security in my life. I can remember now—I’m getting emotional thinking about it—every time we’d drive out to their house, it was security: it was a mom and dad together. It was stability in the midst of a storm—my little brother died of leukemia the same year. It reminds me of the power of a grandparent—

Ann: —and influence.

Dave: —and influence.

Larry: —a legacy of life.

Dave: Yes; I would have never known then that she was intentional, but she was.

Ann: Well, it’s interesting, too, because how we feel about our grandparents—that can be determined sometimes by the parents. I had a set of grandparents that they were the special grandparents; and then there was another set—and I think it was probably because my mom didn’t like her mother-in-law as well—but that kind of fed into me, unknowingly—like I just thought, “Oh, I don’t want to spend as much time with her,” because there was an attitude about that home that wasn’t as special.

I think, as parents, that’s really important for us to speak highly of the grandparents. Even if you don’t necessarily agree or love some of the things, you’re still honoring them. I think that’s an important attribute.

Larry: Yes; I think it goes the other direction too.

Ann: Yes.

Larry: I think for grandparents, especially when they’re with their grandkids, not to badmouth one of the kids or kids-in-law that they’re not getting along with—to be very careful to honor the parents in the eyes of their children.

Ann: Great point.

Dave: Let me ask you this: “As a grandparent,”—I know a lot of us wonder this—“how do we still parent our kids?—especially like when you’re doing Grand Camp.”

Ann: Are you still parenting your kids?

Dave: Well, here’s what I mean—like you see things in your grandkids that you know that you’d love to speak something into their parents about how they’re raising them, but you can’t because they’re now adults; but you see things. Talk about how you negotiate that.

Larry: Dave, that’s not a hypothetical situation.

Dave: No; not at all.

Larry: I think, as we’re with our grandkids, we see things—and we have a really good relationship with our kids and kids-in-law—so even after this Grand Camp, sat down with our kids and just said/asked, actually, “Would you like to hear some observations we made during Grand Camp this week?” We asked permission; we didn’t just intrude and tell them. We asked permission: “Would you like to hear?” They said, “Yes.” They value our input; they know we love their kids.

So we were able to point out certain strengths and certain weaknesses—offered to help in any way we could. Those were some good conversations. The relationship is strong enough that it wasn’t too awkward; we can talk about these things.

Ann: What’s an example of that?

Larry: I think one example, for instance, is one of the grandchildren I think really is struggling with how he sees himself—you know: “I’m no good at this,” “I’m no good at that.” How do we deal with that? How can we team up with the parents?

Gladine said the parents are the primary disciplers—we believe that; we want to live that way—but we can come alongside, as grandparents, and support the parents. But as they’re wrestling with this: “How do we deal with our son”—their son—“who’s feeling his in-competencies/who’s feeling discouraged?—‘I’m not as good at this as somebody else.’” To come alongside them—and be able to talk about that, and pray about it, and encourage him, but also encourage them as they seek to disciple their son through that.

Dave: Now, if you were to ask them the question, “Are you interested in our observations?” and they say, “We’re not really interested,” what are you going to do?

Larry: Yes; I can’t imagine that with our kids, but I’m sure it happens. I think, if that were the case, I’d want to honor that and not be overbearing. At the same time, that would increase our prayer life.

Bob: Talk about your prayer life; and talk about praying for your grandkids and what structure you built in or what the rhythm of that looks like. Do you do that as God brings them to mind? Or have you set out an intentionality there as well?

Larry: We do pray for our grandkids’ salvation on a daily basis; we do that individually. When we pray together, we’re praying for our grandkids and, also, we’ll be talking to them about their relationship with God. But we’re praying for their salvation; we pray for specific things in their lives.

We have the privilege of interacting with our grandkids pretty regularly. I mean, several of them just live a mile away; and we see them once, twice, three times a week. We can talk with them: “What’s on your heart? How can we pray for you this week?”

But even the kids that live in another state—when we do the video call, we usually begin our call after the chitchat: “How you doing?” “How’d that go?” “How’d this go?”—we’ll say: “How can I pray for you this week, sweetie?” “How can I pray for you this week, buddy?” They’ll share things and we’ll probe: “Last week you said you weren’t getting along with your sister, and we prayed about that. How’s it been going? How would you like us to pray this week?”

We’ll ask and then we’ll pray with them—even if it’s over the video call. That way they can hear us praying. And we’ll ask them to pray for us. I’ll share struggles on my heart, even with the grandchildren, and say, “Would you pray for Papa this way or that way?” It’s sweet to hear them praying for Papa and Grandma.

Ann: Oh I love that—of being intentional with praying—letting them see you and you praying for them. That’s beautiful.

Gladine, you have your Bible open. What do you have in mind?

Gladine: Well, just one of the passages of Scripture that’s been meaningful to me is in Psalm 145. It’s the passage that talks about extolling the Lord, my God, the King. I think in the Scripture there’s so much that can help us as grandparents. In verse 4 it says, “One generation will commend Your works to the next generation and to future generations.”

You think: “That seems like a lot. I mean, what are we supposed to talk about with our grandchildren? How do we be intentional? What does that look like?” And it’s like right here in this psalm—is a beautiful example of how we can do that.

It describes all the things that we can think about God: “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.” We can share that with our grandkids: “His greatness no one can fathom.” We can tell of His mighty acts; we can speak of the glorious splendor of his majesty. It goes on and on talking about these glorious aspects of God that we can specifically share with our grandkids. “In all your ways acknowledge Him,”—as we look at nature, as we experience things in life. It goes on describing, “Who is God?”—“He’s gracious; He’s compassionate; He’s slow to anger; and this is the God who wants to meet us in our daily lives.”

Then also in this passage you think: “Well, how am I going to remember all these things? You know, this is a glorious passage of what to share with our grandkids; but how can I do that? I feel so inadequate. I’m not smart enough; I’m not strong enough to be able to bring all this up to mind.” But it tells us here in the end of verse 5: “I will meditate on your wonderful works.” I think, as grandparents, the more we meditate on God and His glorious works and who He is—and it’s all through Scripture—we have our job description; we have our curriculum—if you want to call it that—with our grandchildren. It’s beautiful.

Bob: It is beautiful. We were out with two of our grandkids in California last summer at a family camp. We’ve gone out to Forest Home Family Camp for the last four years, and we had two of the grandkids with us.

Ann: Is it good?—Forest Home.

Bob: Oh, we had a great time; love going out there; yes. It was wonderful.

We’re walking back to our cabin—beautiful clear night—and looking up at the stars. I could spot the Big Dipper. In fact, I stopped; said: “See that. There’s the Big Dipper,” and pointed out some stars. I said, “Do you know what those stars are doing tonight?” They said, “No.” I said, “Those stars are doing—they’re just shouting at us, ‘How great is God!’”

Larry: That’s good, Bob.

Ann: That’s really good.

Bob: It’s Psalm 19: “The heavens declare the glory of God.” And here you are in this beautiful spot—this creation, where all around you the whole creation is screaming at God’s glory. I looked up and said: “Those stars, what they’re doing tonight—they’re just shouting down, ‘How great is God!’”

So every night, as we’re walking back up, we’re looking at the stars: “They’re doing it again tonight.” “Look, they’re doing it again tonight.” It’s those kind of walk by the way moments, as a grandparent.

Now, I’d thought before we got out to camp: “Lord, I want some times like that with my grandkids. I want to be—I don’t want to just go out and have fun, but I want to have some opportunities to make some spiritual deposits.” I think, if you ask God for that and if you’re meditating—as you said Gladine—on His Word, those things will just pop up as you walk along and you have an opportunity to talk about God’s greatness to your grandkids.

Dave: Yes; and I think the meditation of our own hearts—then it makes the grandparenting, or the parenting, or anything we do in life an overflow. It isn’t like: “Okay, I’m a grandparent. I’ve got the grandkids this week. I’ve got to do ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’” and we make our checklist,”—although that’s part of it, because you do have an intentional plan—but at the other side, it’s just an overflow: “This is what God’s doing in me.” I’ve got these little ones around me; it just comes out.

Bob, I don’t think you probably put that in your plan before you got out there: “When I walk [under] the sky I’m going to look up…”

Ann: But you had prayed.

Dave: There it is; it’s just an overflow of what God’s doing in him; and now, it’s a legacy going through generations.

Bob: Well, let’s talk about legacy. I can’t think about grandparenting without thinking about Psalm 78. And probably the reason for that is because of the number of times I heard Dennis Rainey, over and over again, take me to Psalm 78 and talk about: “Declaring both who God is and declaring His works.” He said: “You have to teach them about what the Bible says about God; but also teach them about God’s work in your life so that they don’t just see that God is somebody who did things a long time ago, and it got in a book, and since then He’s been on vacation. Talk about how God’s at work in your life and your experience of God.” He drilled that whole thing home.

Psalm 78 says, if we do this, there’s a generation of faithfulness that continues. If we don’t do it, it’s so easy for one generation to head off in the wrong direction and take a long detour.

Larry: And Psalm 71, verse 18, says “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your might to another generation, Your power to all who will come.” That should be a prayer in our hearts as older Christians: “Lord, don’t let me pass away until I pass that baton of faith onto the next generation.”

Bob: For you all, you wanted to pass on what had been a legacy that was handed down to you. Not all parents are in that situation; in fact, some of them are trying to start a new legacy.

Dave: That would be me and Ann; because my legacy was one of divorce and alcohol, and watching my mom and dad split up, when I was seven years old, and moving away with my single mom to Ohio and starting a new life.

As I become a father, first of all, I was just overwhelmed—like, “How do I do this?” Never saw this modeled in my house; but I know, from day one in our marriage, we had this visceral feeling about even the word, “legacy”: “We get a chance to change the Wilson name from adultery, and alcohol, and divorce to a godly legacy that can impact the world.”

Now, as grandparents, you get to see: “Okay, has God done this?” because we prayed on our knees, constantly, for our kids—who they would marry; and then, now, our grandkids and great grandkids. I remember getting a video from our middle son with our number-one grandchild, which is a little daughter, Olive, who is now four. This was probably a couple of years ago

Ann: She was two when Austin and Kendall sent this to us.

Dave: Yes; it was interesting—when we helped them move in their house out near Denver—I’ve got it here in my phone—one of the things that hangs in Olive’s room—I took a picture of it because I thought it was so beautiful. Her mom and dad put this up; it says: “I am the daughter of a King who is not moved by the world. For my God is with me and goes before me. I do not fear because I am His.” And the big words are “I am His.” I remember seeing that on her wall and just thinking, “The legacy is changing.”

Larry: Amen.

Dave: Again, it’s not perfect; but it’s just like: “Oh my goodness! That is something I never had—I never had a thought like that when I was four years old that that’s who I am.” I’m seeing my son and daughter-in-law instilling that down to the generation. Then they send us this little video of her singing Jesus Loves Me. I’m the proud grandparent, saying: “Hey, you got to hear this.”

Ann: —“and watch it,” because we’ll put a link to watch it.

Dave: “You’ve got to watch it.”

Bob: You can go to to see Olive do this, but we’ll let you hear her singing Jesus Loves Me right here because this really is special. Here it is. [Olive singing] [Laughter]

Larry: Yay!

Bob: A big ending there for Olive.

Dave: Did you notice that musical? She added a tag.

Bob: A little reprise there.

Dave: She added a tag there. [Laughter] But I’ve got to tell you—when I got it—it’s cute; it’s a little girl singing, but it’s a legacy.

Larry: Amen. That warms your heart and encourages you; doesn’t it?

Dave: It was like, “God, You’re doing something.”

Ann: I think for us, too, Dave and I wanted to have a marriage that glorified God/that reflected Him. We had never seen that. My parents had been married a long time, but Jesus wasn’t the foundation of their marriage. The model that we saw—it was Dennis and Barbara Rainey—and we thought: “We want to have that kind of legacy. We want to watch/we want to model what they’ve done, and their love,”—and it comes from their love for Jesus. For us to have our grandkids following Him—man, there’s no greater gift than seeing the future generations declaring His name.

Larry: Amen. How precious.

Gladine: “…no greater joy than our children walk in the truth.”

Ann: Exactly.

Bob: Thank you guys for your work in this area/for your book. Thanks for being here and talking about it on FamilyLife Today. We appreciate you.

Larry: Thanks so much for having us.

Gladine: Yes; thank you for your ministry. We appreciate you all too.

Bob: We’ve got copies of Larry’s book, Grandparenting with Grace, in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. In fact, let me just mention—if you have thought about having a Grand Camp, we’ve had guests on who have explored this idea and had ideas about it. You can go to our website at; there are links to podcasts and other resources that will help flesh this idea out for you—give you some practical suggestions.

And of course, you can get a copy of Larry McCall’s book, Grandparenting with Grace. Order it from us, online, at; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to get your copy. Again, our website is; or you can call to order the book, Grandparenting with Grace. Call 1-800-358-6329—that’s 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life and then the word, “TODAY.”

Now, this weekend’s a big weekend for us, here at FamilyLife®, because we are kicking off our spring season of Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. Our first event happens this weekend and then events will continue throughout the spring in cities all across the country. I think we’ve got five dozen events happening this spring. David Robbins, who is the president of FamilyLife, is here with us. These events are routinely transformational events in the lives of couples who come.

David: I mean, I get excited and geared up for the start of this spring season because I know it begins this trickle of every Sunday night when I get emails from people sharing the stories of transformation that have happened in their lives. Whether you’re at a place, where you just want time together, and a tune-up, and things are well—or whether you’re at a place that you really need some intervention and some processing time—what is amazing about Weekends to Remember is that you get time together over the timeless truth in God’s Word. It just opens up conversations and levels of intimacy for couples, time and time again.

Bob: I’m going to be speaking at the Weekend to Remember in Orlando in April. You and Meg are speaking this spring; right?

Dave: That’s right; we’re in Austin in June.

Bob: Alright! So listeners who would like to join us at either of those events can find the information online at Or just look for a location near you. Whether it’s the Robbins, or the Lepines, or the Wilsons—whoever it is—you’re going to have a great time together at one of our Weekend to Remember getaways. Get more information online at Do us a favor: just pray for the couples who will be meeting this weekend in Napa, California—that God would meet with them during their time together this weekend.

And we hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend; and then join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk to a pastor who wants to help young adults step into the responsibilities that go along with adulthood. He’s written a book called Welcome to Adulting. We’ll talk to JP Pokluda on Monday. I hope you can tune in for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. Have a great weekend. We will see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas; a Cru® Ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.


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