My grandmother had a huge impact on my life, both physically and spiritually. She lived next door to me, so I spent a lot of weekends with her, sleeping over her house, playing games, and chatting. She also took me to church every Sunday. If it were not for her influence in my life, I don’t think I would be the person I am today, and I’d like to think my presence in her life made her life more youthful, fun, and lighthearted.
In this society, we don’t value the older generations well. They are often cast aside, placed in nursing homes to spend their days alone, with no one to visit them. Yet they offer so much that’s not normally recognized.
Here are 10 blessings grandparents offer us:
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Having the advantage of living during a different time in history, they can offer a different perspective on finances, childrearing, and weathering the tough times in marriage. In a world where most view grandparents’ perspectives as antiquated and irrelevant, you may just reap the benefits from their guidance.
Take a moment to listen to them. They want to be needed. Give them a purpose by asking their advice on different aspects of life. You may learn something new and make your grandparents feel like they still play a vital role in your life.
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Grandparents are often desperate to share their lives with us. But in our busy world, we don’t always sit down with them to hear how their experiences differed from ours. They lived in a simpler time, free from modern technology. This alone can teach us a wealth of things about how to survive in our complicated world.
If you still have living grandparents, take a moment to spend time with them. Take a notebook and pen and ask them about their lives. Let them tell stories of fighting in a war, their survival of the Depression, etc. Most only need an invitation to spill their stories to us – we only need to ask.
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If grandparents are retired, they may be more available to help bring kids back and forth to school activities and be present on the sidelines as your child engages in other activities. They often can be the person who’s there when you cannot be, so everyone involved feels less alone. This also gives grandparents a chance to bond with their grandkids in unique ways.
With my grandmother’s assistance in taking me to church, she influenced my life in ways I cannot describe. Grandparents can have this same impact kids today! Invite grandparents into your life as much time as possible.
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In the years of rearing children, the years go by fast, but the days go by slow.
Many people (like myself) don’t have their grandparents around. But if you are lucky enough to have grandparents still living, invite them over often for dinner and take time to listen.
Let them share their histories. Let them give you a glimpse in to a land that time forgot. By listening to them, you learn more about your heritage, your family’s history, and most importantly, who your grandparents were as people. If you let them, they may share their likes and dislikes, their views, and how things used to be during the “good ‘ole days.”
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Grandparents are not climbing the corporate ladder. They have already raised their children. They are more comfortable in their marriages. Because of these things, they are more stable and reliable people to bend their ears regarding life because they survived life, and they have the stories to prove it!
Take a lesson from them and slow down a bit. Take time to enjoy life. As they near the end of their lives, most grandparents will tell you the best accomplishments do not involve careers or how much money is in the bank, but rather the time spent with the ones you love most.
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Let’s be honest – as grandparents age, they sometimes do and say things that cause everyone to laugh. Most grandparents find their sudden forgetfulness, slower walking speeds, and increasing ailments comical as well. If a grandparent can laugh about the aging process with ease, more than likely, everyone else will too. Not only that but they will also demonstrate how to age gracefully—and how to laugh about the bumps along the way as well.
7. Ability to Live with Purpose
Although some elderly people have difficulty finding their role within the church body, most understand they don’t want to flitter away what precious time they have left. Some women take it upon themselves to mentor the younger women, and men take the time to train the younger men to replace them when their time on the elder board is done.
Although they may not have a job to wake up to on the weekdays, they have chosen to live their lives with great purpose, choosing to invest their precious times in the ones who will take the church to the next level. And that is something worth emulating.
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When my husband and I planted our first church, we attracted members who were usually 10 years younger than us. Although we enjoyed their youth and energy, you know what they lacked: the consistency to attend church regularly.
With sports and other activities competing for their time, the younger members didn’t attend every week. Some were lucky to make it once a month. But the older people made it a point to come every week. They grew up in a time when church was the most important thing to do on a Sunday. Also, it was always the older attenders who were the first to volunteer to fill slots in ministry gaps.
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9. Unconditional Love
Grandparents provide the best lesson on what God’s love is like because they love their grandchildren unconditionally. This is in part because they aren’t responsible to bear the brunt of the child’s upbringing. They just get to enjoy the special moments life has to offer.
They have also lived through enough trials to know that if they can survive the hardest moments of their lives, there is nothing to get too worked up about. Once they have figured that out, the more room their hearts have to love their family members exactly as they are. They may not agree with every choice they make, but they can be the soft place for the special people in their lives—especially their grandkids—to fall when they have gotten too worked up over life.
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10. Spiritual Legacy
In the Bible, Paul mentored Timothy. Paul chose Timothy not only because of his youth, but also because of the spiritual legacy his mother and grandmother had left him:
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).
Timothy was able to be the spiritual leader God required because the foundation of faith had already been laid. If grandparents live closely to their grandkids, they can also lay that foundation by accompanying them to church, reading the Word and teaching them to pray. It is work they may not get paid for but work that lasts a lifetime.
Grandparents have the opportunity to mentor kids and serve as role models for the role religion (and a relationship with God) play in their lives. I understand this better than anyone. I can now leave a legacy for my children because of the legacy my grandmother left me.
Grandparents were not meant to merely occupy a pew, but to pour out what they know into the lives of others. When they do so, they enrich our lives and our children’s lives, likely more than we know.
Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal and the Maxwell Award, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She is also an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.
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Originally published Wednesday, 20 March 2019.