There are at least three things in life that we personally don’t have much to say about: 1) when we are born, 2) when we die, and 3) when we become grandparents. For the majority of us, we will one day become grandparents. Today, there are more grandparents than ever as people are living longer and generally are in better health.
Yet the art of grandparenting, in the main, has been lost.
The role of a grandparent has changed in today’s society, especially with the continuing breakdown of families. Millions of grandparents have grandchildren living with them, and are their primary caregivers.
Do you realize the tremendous weight and responsibility a grandparent carries? When once asked about training a child, Napoleon answered that it was done “with their grandparents.” Some of the most important people in the family are grandparents.
The importance of grandparenting is captured perhaps best in Proverbs 17:6: “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.” There is great joy in seeing grandchildren grow up. I can speak as a grandfather myself.
When do you begin training for grandparenthood? It is when you are a child. Grandparents learn how to become a grandparent as children from their grandparents! Grandparents are indeed role models for future grandparents!
Look at Paul’s admonitions to a young Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” Paul said that the unfeigned faith that was in Timothy dwelt first in his grandmother. Obviously this example had a wonderful effect not only on Timothy’s mother, Eunice, but also on Timothy.
God instructs us to respect old age and its accompanying wisdom. Leviticus 19:32 commands, “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.”
Therefore, we can readily understand the importance of grandparents and grandchildren “connecting.” Obviously in this less-than-perfect society, this is seldom possible to the extent that God intended. Nevertheless, we should aim to make those connections, and whenever we do have the opportunity to connect, make the most of them. The connection is vital for future generations.
As a grandparent, you bring a wealth of wonderful resources for your children to enjoy. There are many things you can pass on to your grandchildren. The most important and most valuable asset of any grandparent is his or her experience. Life is filled with so many lessons.
Young people need to be encouraged, even by their grandparents where suitable, to seek grandparents’ experience. It is a wise young person who takes advantage of his grandparents’ knowledge.
One of the privileges that comes with the role of a grandfather is being a wise and trusted counselor. In sharing yourself as a grandparent, you are giving your grandchildren your unique outlook on life, your ways, your memories, your skills and interests, and most of all, your love. As the child grows and develops wider knowledge, this can become more and more significant.
There’s a saying, “When an elderly person dies, a library burns down.” A grandparent is a bridge to another era. Family history can be relived in stories from Granddad and Grandma—stories from “the good ol’ days,” as we tend to say.
One cardinal rule of effective grandparenting is to treat all grandchildren in an equitable manner.
Our grandchildren need to know that we are there for them, that we love them. Grandparents can be a point of stability and comfort for their own children and their grandchildren. Often grandparents are in the best situation to provide the emotional and spiritual nurturing the children need. You can be a consistent long-term source of encouragement as your grandchildren grow through the various stages of their lives.
Adults who have had a good relationship with their grandparents show a heightened self-respect, a greater chance of success in life, and a strong sense of family values.
Children are natural observers, and they learn powerful, lasting lessons from watching and listening to a grandparent who goes through life with dignity and selflessness, and who provides a strong sense of family. This relationship with your children and grandchildren is with those who will be the leaders of the next generation. As we look forward to a world ahead where families will learn the true value of each other, when grandparents will fulfill their God-ordained role, think about your legacy as a grandparent today that will extend into future generations.
For today in God’s Church, many of us are grandparents to all the children within God’s Family. These children, these future grandparents, also need to see and feel the faithfulness in you as you strive to be the best you can be.
For many, as seniors—the Titus 2 men and women of God—we represent grandparents they may not have due to other circumstances, so our examples within our physical and spiritual families will impact the minds of children who will be the grandparents of tomorrow.