Words of Advice to Grandparents

Words of Advice to Grandparents

“Grandparent:” Whether it refers to a feeble nursing home resident or a marathon-running, mountain-biking, adventureseeking 45 year-old, the only image this word conveys to many ears is “old.” My grandparents seemed “ancient” when I was a child (they were about the age I am now). Two were faithful Christians and two were not, yet all are precious to me and their examples are a large part of who I am now. Solomon wrote, “The memory of the just is blessed,…” (Proverbs 10:7), and I especially bless the memory of my Christian grandparents, and want all MY grandchildren to know them in eternity.

A grandparent is first a parent. Our roles in the lives of our children necessarily change now that they are adults, though they do not end. Because we are no longer mainly teachers or disciplinarians, now we can become mentors, counselors, and friends. We see Solomon passing on to his own children in Proverbs 4:1-4 the good lessons he learned from his own father. We greatly bless both our own children and our grandchildren when those grandchildren can see that we embody and reinforce the principles their parents are trying to instill. Hindsight — the vantage point of our own experience — lets us recognize our own successes and mistakes as parents. Do not damage a grandchild’s soul by spoiling them or undermining the God-given authority of their parents. Our wisdom can help our children repeat our successes while avoiding our errors if we combine it with humility and honesty. It’s fine to comfort and console grandchildren when they struggle to accept correction from their parents, but don’t become a “wedge” between them.

Second, grandchildren ARE meant to be enjoyed (they are “the crown of old men,” Proverbs 17:6), so do enjoy them as much as possible! The Hebrew word for “crown” is the diadem or “wreath” of a king, a mark of honor. Living to see our children’s children is a significant accomplishment, and seeing a grandchild grow to become a faithful Christian is tangible evidence that we have touched eternity in the most positive way possible! Hebrews 11:4 says of Abel “…though he died, …[he] still speaks.” Time spent with your grandchildren is precious, so make the most of it! What memories of you will touch their future? Will they recall your wisdom, righteousness, and reverence for God (Proverbs 1:3 & 7)? What great joy Timothy’s faith and commitment must have provided Lois, whose own faith was the “root” of his (2 Timothy 1:5)! Delight in your grandchildren, especially when they are also your brethren (remember Psalm 133:1).

Third, God blesses you with a tremendous opportunity to teach and mold a grandchild’s soul. Whether you have only summers, holidays, and vacations together, or you’re a “fulltime” grandparent due to economic stress, divorce, or some other challenge, your words, actions, and example will impact them for life. Don’t try to “prove” your love by the money, property, or the university tuition you may leave them; while Proverbs 13:22 does say, “a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,” a legacy of commitment to Christ has far greater value than any of this world’s goods! Moses reminded grandparents in Israel that they were to teach both children AND grandchildren to “keep all his statues and his commandments … that thy days may be prolonged” (Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:1-2). He also warned that the consequences of our misdeeds can reach to “…the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Deuteronomy 4:25). All these instructions correspond to the principle of “training” a child (Proverbs 22:6); which speaks as much of demonstrating right conduct as providing proper information.

Fourth, getting to BE a grandparent is part of God’s reward for your own faithfulness, according to Psalm 128:1-6! We often joke that “grandchildren are God’s reward for not giving up on their parents,” but the reality is that they are His reward for our own patience and persistence in guiding their parents into the faith! We are blessed beyond measure when we are able to know our grandchildren as brethren in Christ as well as “grand” children!


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