Parents often pour large amounts of time, money, and effort into raising their children (as they should); it’s one of life’s highest callings to bring infants to maturity, and to nurture children into responsible adults. But even after the kids grow up, move out, and get married, there may soon be more work to do; it’s called grandchildren!
Perhaps work is the wrong word to use; it is a privilege and a pleasure to be able to spend quality time with the youngest members of the family; but the role is now different from that of a direct parent. Grandparents have a special function in the lives of their grandkids that ought to be recognized and appreciated.
The role of a grandparent (in contrast with a mother or father) is one of lavishing love without the responsibility of deciding and administering discipline. It is the role of telling stories to preserve family heritage. It is the role of creating birthday and holiday memories.
But one of the most important aspects, is the role of providing wise counsel to the mother and father who are now the ones trying to raise infants to maturity, and children into responsible adults. The grandparent has graduated from parenthood, to parental counselor. It is time to give advice when a worried parent calls about their baby’s high fever, or when they need to know a good method for potty-training. It’s time to reminisce and share tips, warnings, and encouragements that were learned by experience.
Transitioning from being a parent to a grandparent is a beautiful thing! It should be celebrated, and held in honor, because the next generation will always need the wisdom from those who came before them.