Recently a grandmother told me about a bold and courageous step that she and her husband took with their children and grandchildren. I’ll call them Bill and Julia.
After a little bit of planning and preparation, they called together everyone in their family—sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. First, Bill and Julia made a verbal commitment to be better grandparents. They admitted that there were ways they could have been more involved and supportive, and they pledged to make those improvements. They even asked for ideas others had that might help them.
Bill and Julia didn’t stop there. They had also written out letters of affirmation and blessing for each of their daughters-in-law, to affirm them as part of the family. Knowing that there are often tensions and misunderstandings with in-laws, they wanted to affirm these young women as important members of the family. Some of that had taken place years ago at the weddings, but they wanted to do it again since time had passed and grandkids were in the picture.
They ended the time with an offer no one would refuse: They were sending each couple away for a few nights while Bill and Julia stayed with the kids.
As you can imagine, Julia said that things have been much better since that day. She and Bill have really been purposeful about following through on their commitments, and the whole atmosphere of family interactions has become warmer and more open.
Now, grandparents, could you see yourself doing something similar? I encourage you to try those four steps they took:
- Be proactive in seeking to restore or improve relationships with your children and grandchildren.
- Humbly admit that there are areas in which you need to grow. (And ask for their input.)
- Verbalize your commitment to your children and grandchildren for the future.
- Bless the family in some way that supports and encourages their family and/or marriage.
Maybe you can try just one of these to start with and see how it goes.
How have you reached out to encourage or bless your children and grandchildren? Share insights and tips with other grandparents on our Facebook page.