Coffee Talk Thursday
A few years ago, I read an article in Parents' magazine about grandparenting today. While there are certainly exceptions, the article said that baby boomers who become grandparents are, by and large, so busy with their own lives that they're not the doting grandparent of days gone by. Plus, with families no longer living in the same city as their parents, the face of grandparenting has changed dramatically from what it was years ago when extended families lived near each other.
In my own life, I see how this is true. One grandparent in our family takes grandparenting seriously, making the role of grandparent a priority. This grandparent is committed to seeing the grandchildren regularly and building a strong relationship with the grandsons. Another grandparent would like to visit more frequently but lacks the finances for the cross-country trip. Still, this grandparent makes an effort to build a close relationship with the grandchildren through phone calls and thoughtful gestures (such as small gifts and cards in the mail). Other grandparents certainly love their grandchildren but are so busy with their own lives and interests that building a tight bond with the grandkids just does not seem to have the same priority that other activities claim in their lives.
As a parent, this saddens me. I wish grandparents would realize what a special role, and a life-changing influence, they could have in their grandchildrens' lives. Although I took it for granted at the time, I lived in the same area as both sets of my grandparents when I was growing up; my life was richer for seeing my grandparents weekly and getting to know them well. I want this for my kids as well, but you can't force someone to embrace something to a greater degree than what one desires.
I don't know how to encourage grandparents to treasure their role as grandparent more than they currently may. Jesus said "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). I think it boils down to a heart issue: how important is it to them? Yet, practically speaking, in the meantime, I think sometimes the grandparent-grandchild relationship may have to be initiated by the parents through regular calls and sending of letters. I guess we could be better about that.
Since it's Coffee Talk Thursday, what do you think? What is your experience of grandparenting today? How do you think we could encourage strong relationships between our children and their grandparents, if the grandparents don't seem to make it the priority we would hope they would?