By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
Grandparents have a lot to offer their children and grandchildren! Proverbs 16:31 says, "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life." Those grays that we all try so hard to cover up are actually an outward sign of wisdom. When we are paying attention, time teaches us valuable lessons! The time grandparents spent in the trenches of young parenthood and not helping their children parent their kids has been an opportunity to gain insight and perspective.
Science even backs up the claims of the Bible. An Oxford study found that grandparents play a high-level role in children's emotional and behavioral growth. Present grandparents help ensure children have fewer emotional problems and are less likely to find themselves involved in negative behavioral situations. The bottom line is that active and involved grandparents are a blessing to their children and grandchildren!
This is an encouragement for parents to make sure they make space for Grandma and Grandpa to be involved in their kids' lives. Their way of doing things may be different than yours, but as long as they are safe individuals, those differences only enhance your child's life. Your kids need a big village, and grandparents are one of the key players in the community you are building to support them.
Here are some ways that grandparents are a gift:
1. Grandparents Offer Wise Advice
The lived experience of grandparents can be so encouraging when parents face a tough season with their children. Their intuition can comfort a parent battling uncertainty and guilt on their parenting journey. They know there is no such thing as a perfect parent and can help us step back and take a deep breath when facing a parenting dilemma.
Sometimes they even speak life directly into your child's life in a way that you, as a parent, can't access in a particular season. The bond grandparents form is unique, and sometimes grandparents can feel more approachable. Grandparents can be a safe place for their grandkids to go when they are looking for guidance.
RELATED PODCAST: Lifestyle Changes to Avoid Dementia
2. Grandparents Are Amazing Teachers
Grandparents oftentimes are more patient than us over tired and stressed out parents. Invite grandma or grandpa in to be an additional teacher for your child. One of my sons really struggled with reading. Before going to a tutor or doing lots of expensive assessments, I consulted my Mother-in-Law, a retired teacher. She spent some time doing reading lessons with my son, and he relished the chance to work one-on-one with her.
She also was able to help me know if further intervention was needed for my son. She encouraged me and informed me that he just needed more time but was making enough progress. Her insight and expertise as a former teacher were a huge gift when I felt anxious about my son's academic progress.
What are the grandparents in your lives good at? Enlist them in passing down their knowledge, skills, and expertise to your children. P-Paw in our family is a carpenter by trade. When we attempt any DIY projects, he becomes the teacher to us all, showing us how to complete our desired projects. What a gift it is to learn from those who know better than ourselves!
3. Grandparents Provide Childcare
Life is crazy busy these days! Grandparents who live nearby offer childcare that helps lighten some of the parenting load that we are all carrying. When I've had a tough week, I can call my Mom and see if she'd like some extra kids to feed and hang out with on Friday night. She is eager to take them whenever she is able, and now my kids are getting big enough to arrange their own Friday night hangouts at Grandma's house! They love the special time with my parents eating yummy foods, watching movies, and just being lazy together.
Grandparents offer an extra layer of support when parents need to go to appointments, work, or need time to connect as a couple. An extra pair of invested and loving hands in your kid's life is one of the best gifts you could ever receive. Grandparents, your willingness to offer childcare is such a blessing. It's a chance for you to connect directly with your grandkids and provide much-needed support for your children.
4. Grandparents Love
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Tom Merton
The very best gift grandparents give is their unconditional love! They are there for their children and grandchildren when they need a warm embrace or an encouraging word. My husband and I are foster parents, and two of our children in our care have the goal of adoption. The way our parents have immediately embraced them with lavish love is a huge part of them feeling like they belong with us. Grandparents connect us to a broader family tree and offer a strong source of connection. I am so grateful that my adoptive and biological children all have access to so much gracious love that their grandparents provide.
5. Grandparents Pray
Psalm 13:22 says, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous." Grandparents have the chance to pass on an inheritance of righteousness to the generations to come. Prayer is their primary weapon when fighting for their children and grandchildren. Grandparents oftentimes have more time and space to get before the Lord and intercede on behalf of their family. God hears and honors those prayers! So many stories of redemption start with "I always knew my Grandparents prayed for me." Those prayers have the power to change the next generation!
We need Grandparents' love, care, wisdom, prayers, and support! The job of investing in the next generation does not end when your kids leave the house. The mission continues as you stay present and invested in your kid's and grandkids' lives. The beautiful thing is that grandparents also benefit from this interaction. Science tells us that being an involved grandparent leads to a happier, healthier, and sometimes even longer life. We need each other!
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/PeopleImages
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.