Grand Parenting

I understand the “grand” part of grandparenting. There is nothing quite like holding the child of your child in your arms. As I write this we have four grandchildren: one 6, two 3 and one who turns 1 this month. It is amazing how much energy these four little ones can generate. It is amazing how much energy is expended by two grandparents in less than two hours babysitting four little ones.

But the “grand” part comes with the smile and the outstretched arms. Unconditional love is given by even the youngest. Absolute trust is demonstrated. The best word to describe the emotion I feel is “grand.” It’s the “parenting” side that seems to trip me up. Parenting is always a challenge, and it is not any easier with grandchildren.

My basic philosophy of parenting is to express unconditional love for each child personally, and to help the child always feel secure in that love. As a grandparent, though, I am not the parent. I have to remind myself that I do not always know what is best. That’s where communication with the parents becomes critical. For others, grandparenting is complicated with all kinds of family configurations and relationship stresses. Our discipline and correction has to be in line with the parents’ tactics. This goes for foods and snacks as well as gifts and treats. Another factor is that each grandchild is different from the others in personality, temperament and sensitivity. What worked on their mothers 30 years ago does not necessarily relate to any of their children. I have discovered that I have to be open to learning from my children and their spouses what the best way to “parent” each child is.

I have committed to my children and grandchildren that I will not tell stories about them without their permission. And I have a lot of stories. They are just so cute, smart, profound, life changing. It will always be a challenge, but it is grand.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Be grand. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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