by Tina Y. Gerber – McCurley
My grandchildren certainly help me keep young at heart. It is a special relationship which is filled with incredible Joy.
Communicating and developing a relationship with grandchildren can be a fun and rewarding experience at any age (yours or theirs). Any relationship with grandchildren should enhance the emotional well-being of the child. Grandparents can play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren.
We have the opportunity of babysitting and are blessed enough to spend many hours together but also respecting the boundary of their parents. Many grandparents can take their grandchildren to the movies, shopping, or to and from extra-curricular activities. We have five grandchildren, and every one of them is unique. We love having conversations with our grandchildren: they make us laugh, think, and warm our hearts.
We started when they were small with encouraging words, gestures, reading stories along with many hugs and kisses. My now two-year-old granddaughter stops, rubs her knees, and explains how they hurt. Obviously, she has been watching and listening to me. When my cat was sick, and I would cry, she would rush over, pat my back, and say, "it's okay Grandma."
Our grandchildren need to know they can talk openly with us. My youngest will say, "Grandma I am two now, and you hurt my feelings!" When I ask her why, she explains she is two now, like she is all grown up, like her big sister who is five. However, if she is crying because I've stated no to an extra cookie, she says, "I am two and little enough to have more!" She is a smart cookie. It is enjoyable to have a conversation with her and she can explain away the worries of the World.
Years ago, families stayed close together throughout their lifetimes. Unfortunately, life dynamics change, grandchildren get older, so do we and many families separate for a variety of reasons. Many individuals find their relationships change, and roles may also change as many grandparents or great grandparents arrive in a nursing home or other care facility. Many individuals have felt abandoned after all the years of supporting their children and grandchildren with love, hugs and kisses while they were growing up.
The older generation were respected for their wisdom, knowledge, and the younger generations helped meet the needs of their aging parents, and grandparents. Social isolation during our later years was less of an issue as families remained close.
Today, even if grandchildren are in their parents' or grandparents' lives, a separation often occurs once illness or disability enters their life.
Grandparents play an important part in passing on their faith to further generations. Proverbs 17:6 says, "Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly, and parents are the pride of their children." Psalm 92:14 states, "They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green." Grandparents are considered a Blessing from God, and their relationship is often filled with Joy, Love, Hope and I certainly must agree.