Friday, May 18, 2007

Privilege and Responsibility

Grandparents these days often take on a lot of responsibility for their grandchildren.
That's not necessarily a new thing.
I remember my grandmother telling me about moving into town at a very young age, leaving her parents and younger brothers and sisters on the farm. Grandma lived with her widowed grandmother in town in order to go to school – something she couldn't have accomplished if she'd stayed on the farm.
Back in those days, the loss of a parent, a difficult financial situation, or just the ability to fill in a parental gap might mean a grandparent stepped in to help raise a child. The same thing is true today.
Some of us are still milk-and-cookies grandmas, with occasional baby-sitting duties. Some of us help out regularly with responsibilities like after-school care or getting a child to the orthodontist. Some of us actually end up with custody of a grandchild.
The question is, how do we grandparents handle responsibilities that change and evolve even as our grandchildren grow up?
Here are three things to think about as you navigate your role as a grandparent:
*Start with prayer: ask God what role you should play in your grandchild's life. Seek His wisdom about how to relate to your own child, your grandchild's parent. Ask Him to make you a good example. Don't forget to thank Him for the privilege of being a grandparent.
*Talk with your child about what she expects of you as a grandparent, and be honest with her about what you are willing to do as a grandparent. Do your best to resolve any old issues between you for the sake of your grandchild.
*Look for the joy; enjoy the fun. Whether you see your grandchild only rarely or shoulder heavy responsibility for her, take time to relish the privilege even as you shoulder the responsibility.
You may have thought your days in an orthodontist's waiting room were over, or that listening to a child read a library book was something you were finished with. Life is full of opportunity, though.
Often, these days it's spelled “g-r-a-n-d-c-h-i-l-d.”

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