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The blessing of grandparents

By Sheri Wohlfert

The Blessing of Grandparents

I’m a brand new grandma. And as I snuggled my tiny grandson for the very first time last week, I rocked and prayed about how God might want to use Dave and me in little Lewis’ life. This new status got me thinking about the blessing grandparents can be to both their children and grandchildren. Whether you’re living across town, across the state or living in the same home, here are some thoughts about this unique vocation.

The 3 T’s – time, treasures and talents.

Grandparents have plenty of each to share. Sharing our stories, skills, recipes, hobbies, photos and patience will have a positive impact on us and our grandchildren. Parents have a strong focus on survival in the present, while grandparents can slow things down, visit the past and provide a connection to family values, traditions, history and identity.

Role modeling.

Media and culture don’t often present a Gospel perspective, so our kids need every positive example of Christlike discipleship they can get. Grandparents can be strong examples of service and faith. Parents are the primary faith educators, but grandparents can help nurture the seeds of faith by fostering habits such as daily prayer, weekday Mass and rich traditions of our faith such as the rosary.

Love.

If we could only begin to understand how truly loved we are by the Father, how different our world would be! Since parenting roles and responsibilities are different, grandparents have a unique opportunity to demonstrate the generous and extravagant love of God to their grandchildren, spoiling them with attention, patience, understanding and unconditional love. We all need to feel loved beyond what we think we deserve, and the extra love grandparents give can influence and encourage children to pass it on to others just as the Father asks us to do.  

But first, set your relationship up for success. Grandparents are not parents! Set boundaries and expectations on both sides. Grandparents are meant to support, not control; ask and suggest is much better than dictate and demand. The goal is healthy, happy, faithful children, and that takes a team.