Just a few months ago, some of you observed Lent by denying yourself something for a given time, whether it was a certain food or something else you normally do. The discipline of fasting is similar—usually done for spiritual or health reasons—where someone goes without food for a day or two, maybe longer. Or someone might declare a one-day or one-week fast from media as a change of pace.
There are numerous benefits, and one of them is clarity. You miss the thing you’ve given up and possibly gain a new awareness of the role it has played in your life, or maybe how much you’ve come to depend on that thing.
Little did we know that, right as Lent was ending, our lives were changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and a new kind of self-denial was forced upon us as many habits and routines were drastically changed. This pandemic has brought on great difficulties and loss for some, and that shouldn’t be minimized. But the challenge for many of us is to find the good that can come out of this.
Some sectors of society are re-starting, but we know that “normal” won’t be the same going forward. And that can be a good thing. Each of us has an opportunity to learn and grow because the past several months have brought some needed clarity in certain areas.
That includes our role as grandparents. Every grandparent can ask herself (or himself),
What am I supposed to learn because of this? What adjustments can I make that will help me succeed with my grandkids (and their parents) once our daily routines become more “normal”?
Here’s another approach: Imagine there’s an all-powerful being who wants what’s best for you and your family and who has a message for you about your grandparenting—specifically, how you need to grow in that role. What would he tell you? And what if he has tried to communicate this message to you for months or years, but you haven’t been listening or you’ve been too busy or distracted or stubborn to really hear it? Maybe he would arrange for several months of at-home quarantine to get your attention and help you gain clarity about your influence as a grandparent.
(Note: The above is just a “what if” scenario. Some will find the all-powerful being in this exercise helpful, but you might be skeptical or offended. True: it’s highly unlikely that the pandemic was supernaturally orchestrated to communicate messages to grandparents. Still, we would all be wise to view it as an opportunity to reflect on our grandparenting and make positive changes.)
Here are some of the possible messages today’s grandparents might receive during the quarantine:
- Make the most of every opportunity you have with your grandkids. They’re precious and fleeting.
- Learn to use technology so you can stay in touch no matter what.
- Get to know your neighbors better.
- Get to know your spouse better.
- Watch less sports on TV and find better ways to invest that time.
- Find ways to help your grandchildren be thankful for: medical professionals, trash service, churches, restaurants, festivals, etc.
Aren’t those all good things? Maybe these are adjustments we all need to make as grandparents.
How has the 2020 quarantine affected you? What message are you getting? How are you being prompted to change or improve as a grandparent?
We really do want to know, and we’ve put together a brief survey to collect your feedback. Just go here to take the survey and help us understand you and other grandparents a little better. It should only take you five or ten minutes.