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  • Jared Stern

Active Grandparents

The older a person gets, the less active they become. That’s a statement a lot of people don’t like to admit.

It’s frustrating when tasks that were once fluid and simple become difficult. A lot of people have told me to cherish my youth and not take it for granted. Truth is, I envy older people for their wisdom and experience.

I have learned a lot over the years from older mentors and truth is I have depended on them for advice. This past week I was reminded by a good friend of Proverbs 16:31:

Gray hair is a crown of glory;

It is gained in a righteous life.

People typically do not view aging with such a positive mindset. Aches and pains usually overshadow the positive elements of aging. Gray hair is often considered more of curse than a crown.

Crowns are symbols of status and celebration given to the winner of a race. Grandparents certainly deserve a crown. They have run a good race.

In the very next chapter, it says this:

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,

And the glory of children is their fathers.

– Proverbs 17:6

So there you have it. Gray hair and loud rambunctious children are symbols of celebration and status.

One of the most valuable tools for a parent is having the support of their parents. Having a three year old can get very tiring. Between the millions of questions, constant battles, and teaching them 24/7, bedtime is about the only time of day the house becomes peaceful. It can be exhausting.

Then the grandparents arrive and every rule and standard parents try to enforce goes out the window.

I remember enjoying going to my grandparent’s house because it was a much more relaxed setting. There were less rules.

One story in particular that relates to this was one morning we were eating breakfast with my grandma. We had just stayed overnight the night before and now were eating cereal. When we had finished all the cereal, all that was left was the milk.

“Drink it!” Grandma told us.

At home this was forbidden. Either mom didn’t trust us to tip the bowl and sip it out the side without spilling or the slurping sound annoyed her. Either way this was a no no at home and usually we had to resort to spooning each little sip of milk into our mouths until the bowlful was gone.

“We aren’t allowed to at home.” We explained to Grandma.

“That’s crazy!” My grandma has always been a very outspoken, boisterous woman who never ceased to give her opinion on matters. “Well, you’re at my house with my rules, so drink it!”

Grandparents have a different mindset than parents. Usually it involves spoiling and then sending the kid home all sugared up. Parents have the pressure of shaping their child’s character and it can be stressful at times. So when the kids head over to Grandma’s for a few hours, it helps reenergize parents.

While parents have the main responsibility to raise their kids, Grandparents also contribute. Don’t forget who instilled character and values in the parent. While a parent may raise their children differently than their parents before them, both generations still share many of the same values. Kids get tired of hearing the same lessons over and over from parents but when they hear the same lessons from grandparents, it helps the lesson stick better than hearing it from the parent alone. They begin to take that lesson more seriously after it is reenforced by their grandparents. Don’t underestimate the power of a grandparent.

Whether you have grandkids, or you are still waiting for them to arrive, the best lesson to remember is not to minimize your role. You may not be the main influence in your grandchildren’s life, but you are an influence. You are much needed support for your children who are raising your grandchildren. You have a part to play.

Do you view your grandchildren as a crown? An accomplishment? A symbol of status?

Be an active grandparent. Who knows… maybe one day you will have the opportunity to spoil great-grandchildren.

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