The Gift of Grandparenting

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

The privilege of grandparenting is a gift from God. Children who benefit from our unconditional love are knit in the core of our hearts and souls. We may have difficulty expressing the emotions in words, but our actions show the extraordinary link.

One reason God established the family is to teach us love, sacrifice, and the strength of relationships—done His way. And those grands don’t have to be blood-related to receive our affection. With open arms, and often free from the parenting tasks of discipline and meeting basic needs, we can focus on affection and nurturing children in the way of the Lord.

Grandparents offer a safety net to encourage communication without the threat of ridicule and criticism. We’ve journeyed life’s roads and have experienced the ups and downs of maturing, which allows our wisdom to shine through a child’s victories, disappointments, and poor decisions.

Four reasons are given why we develop a bond with our grandchildren.

  1. The relationship is the reward for putting up with their parents.
  2. The relationship is an opportunity to make up for our mistakes as parents.
  3. The relationship is an extension of our faith.
  4. The relationship is beyond human understanding, a fierce and protective devotion that defies logic.

Grandparenting is a beautiful blend of all four, and for certain, the process transforms us into better people, and we hope our grands’ lives are enriched too. We are never more like Jesus than when we give to others who are in no position to reciprocate. We provide love and like a boomerang, the blessings come back.

My husband and I serve up Camp MimiPops. We embrace every moment with a goal of authentic Christian living.

We play

As grandparents, we believe in the art of play, activities that we do together. These forms of enjoyment range from outdoor fun, card and board games, physical activity, and everything in between. We believe grandparenting is a participation sport.

We pray

At mealtimes, we take turns thanking God for our food. We also encourage special mention of prayer and praise requests. Bedtime is another opportunity for prayer—together and solo.

We show purpose and meaning

We believe every action has a reaction. Positive statements and love-filled moments are praiseworthy. Consequences are met with gentle explanations. We practice open communication and let each child know we are always available.

We love and value

God doesn’t play favorites, and neither do we. When we show a preference of one child over another, we’re sending a message that love is conditional. A child may interpret self-worth directly related to how a grandparent viewed him/her or equate the situation to God’s love.

Inviting the grandkids to visit means we plan projects at home and outings outside the home that the grands will enjoy. At our house, cooking and baking are an event. We make it special and each grandchild is allowed to select what he/she would like to prepare alone with Mimi. Pops focuses on a one-on-one time when a child picks out a craft to make with him. In the evenings, the grandchildren take turns selecting a movie. Camp MimiPops incorporates the theme of “Every Moment is Quality Time.”

Mealtimes are celebrations whether poolside, a restaurant, or at home. We choose a state or country and use unique food and decorations from the area as a theme. A music playlist is created, a table centerpiece, decorations, food from the state or country, and even a few languages or colloquial phrases to make the meal fun.

We worship together

Pre-COVID-19, we varied Sunday morning worship time. Sometimes the grandchildren would accompany us to church—proud moments for Mimi and Pops, but that’s not why we attended services. Sometimes we incorporated family church at home. A designated morning hour in which each child plays a role in worship: the music and songs, the Scripture, the lesson, prayer requests and praise, and sometimes a craft or skit. An online experience might currently be the norm.

A grandparent has the luxury of spoiling and sending the children home, but the parents’ wishes are always respected. A grandparent doesn’t interfere with discipline or parents’ preferences. We count it all joy, even when we need a nap and three days to recuperate after the grandkids go home.

Grandparenting is a gift and a privilege. Embrace the time and effort to show they are special. Include children in your mission to serve Him.

Are you impacting a child’s life?