On Being a Grandparent
I’ve said many times that being a parent is not for “wimps”. The responsibilities and long-term effects of decisions are heavy and more difficult than advanced calculus! For most of us who have navigated parental waters and are now in the beautiful Lake Grandparent, we take relaxing, joyful breaths as we look into the face of that perfect newborn grandchild. We’ve arrived! Let the good times begin!
Five of my seven grandchildren are now moving out of the baby stage and new waves are in my once peaceful lake. Some of these waves have appeared because these children are now old enough to have some memories and, because of distance, I am a very distant, vague person in their life. All are developing their own circle of friends and while I am loved to some degree, I am old. I am not a first-degree friend, no matter how much I may live in that delusion! They do not want to live in the quiet waters where they think I always live. They want some waves to surf!
I have an important function, however, and it is not to buy and give large amounts of toys. It is to be alert for moments when my grandchildren do sail into my waters and I meet them where they are. I have found that my grandchildren do like short stories about things that interest them. I have a grandson that loves the military and so his grandfather who was in the Air Force connects with him there. I have a couple of them who like cooking so we do recipes together. And as we do these things together, there are opportunities to share.
It is so important to share the Gospel without preaching at them. Instead of “Jesus said He is the Way, Truth, and Life!” I quietly shared a specific time when I relied on a person and they let me down. People do that. Jesus never will because He never tires and never misses a cry of your heart. He will always love you more! And then share specifically how I knew that.
To me, being a grandparent isn’t easier than being a parent. Both require that I consult the manual and the expert often (The Bible and Jesus). I should not assume that I know what to do. Only God truly knows my grandchild’s heart and the needs of that child. How miraculous would it be to be used to speak God’s love, His words into the heart of my grandchild that would heal and nurture.
“Speak, LORD! Your servant is listening!”