A few days ago, we welcomed our first grandson, Jackson Berkley Davies into the world. So far, I’m happy to say that dad, mother and baby are healthy. Our family is richly blessed.
However, this journey as a grandparent is just beginning. I have so many mixed emotions. I’m excited about the possibilities and frightened about the responsibilities. What exactly do I do as grandpa? There is a new life in our family but I am not the parent. What is my role? How often should I visit? How much help should I provide? How much can I spoil Jackson? a little? a lot?
I googled “new grandparent advice” and found hundreds of helpful tips. Here is a sampling:
- Seal your lips. Even if you’re an expert. Tread lightly. Let the parents come to you.
- Let them do it their way. Learn from the parents and strive to follow their rules.
- Emphasize the positive. Tell funny and sweet stories about your own experiences.
- Go easy on the shopping. Work with the parents to make your gifts more helpful.
- Hold off on major decisions. Don’t quit your job right away until you consider carefully.
- Do help out but don’t overdo it. Yes they will need some assistance but not too much.
Seal your lips? Let them do it their way? Help but don’t over help? I get it. The experts want me to be wise like grandpa on “The Walton Family” not overbearing like grandma in “Everyone Loves Raymond.”
Can’t we do better than that? The Bible is loaded with wisdom when it comes to children. Jesus certainly let it be known what he thought of children: “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him. When Jesus saw what was happening, He was angry with His disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to Me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’ Then He took the children in His arms and placed His hands on their heads and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)
- “Let the children come. Don’t stop them.”
- “The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”
- “Anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter.”
Here is what I am learning. Children are important. We are all to be involved, not just the parents, not just the aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas… all of us. In fact, as important as it is for us to teach the children, Jesus also makes it very clear that our children also teach us.
So, here is what I am asking God to help me do and be in my new role as grandpa. God, help me to be the influence my children and grandchildren need. Help me to…
- Pray. May I frequently and regularly lift you in prayer. May I model a life of prayer for you.
- Teach. Help me recognize and utilize God given opportunities to teach Your Word.
- Listen. May I be willing to listen carefully and prayerfully before speaking.
- Witness. May my everyday life and actions be a testimony to you for the love of Christ.
- Encourage. Guide my words and actions to be a source of encouragement for you.
- Love. May I model for you the amazing love and grace shown to me by Jesus.
- Comfort. When crisis, mishaps and mistakes happen may I be ever present providing comfort.
- Confess. Help me have the courage to share shortcomings as well as successes.
- Forgive. Help me to model God’s forgiveness with you, others and myself.
- Cheer. May I always be one of your most enthusiastic fans and cheerleaders.
I noticed something. This is about more than just being a good grandpa. Isn’t it? This list stresses priorities that can help me be a better friend… a better Christian influence… help us be a better church.
Jesus said it best: “Let the children come to Me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”