by Dr. Ken Canfield

As grandparents, we need to celebrate the good things about our role and those special relationships with our grandkids. There’s a quote from Donald A. Norberg that we all need to keep in mind:

“Surely two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent.”

I’m sure you agree, don’t you?

That statement goes a long way toward capturing what we feel but probably find difficult to put into words—the magical connection we experience with our grandkids. They are thrilled to see us, and vice versa. The mere thought of our grandchildren brings a smile to our faces, and the same is true for them. It’s a relationship to be savored and celebrated.

According to our own surveys of grandparents in recent years, 72% believe that being a grandparent is the single most important role at this point in their lives, and they are quick to say that this role provides them the greatest relational satisfaction.

(And it’s likely that many of the other 28% either have strained or broken relationships with their grandkids’ parents, or they haven’t grasped the influence they can have and the difference they can make in their grandkids’ lives.)

Maybe most of us find so much satisfaction as grandparents because we’re getting a bit older and we’re more aware that we’re leaving a legacy; we want to make the most of the time and opportunities we have left with our grandkids (and their parents). Many of us have more time to plan ways to bless and encourage our grands. And often we can connect with our grandkids’ hearts in ways that no one else can, especially given the day-to-day tensions that are part of parent-child relationships.

And even when grandparents are part of those tensions, for those who are raising their grandkids, they still find things to celebrate despite the often-overwhelming demands and responsibilities. One such grandparent wrote:

“At the end of the day, I find deep satisfaction in what I’m doing as a grandparent.”

Neither parenting nor grandparenting is always easy, and it’s so important to keep doing all we can to maintain unity and harmony. That’s when we increase the likelihood that we’ll experience that sense of satisfaction that can be richer and deeper than just about anything else we’ll experience in life.

What should we do with that incredible sense of satisfaction?

Well, enjoy it! Soak in and savor every moment with your grandkids. But don’t stop there. As much as you can, find ways to make your grandchildren’s lives even more satisfying. Use these positive feelings to motivate an ever-growing commitment to support, encourage and bless them.

Maybe you’ll find deep satisfaction in passing on a tradition or skill, whether it takes fifteen minutes or you spend hours with your grandchild on a project that lasts weeks or months. Time you spend teaching them will strengthen and deepen your connection with them. Maybe you can establish a regular activity you do together to help build consistency and predictability that will bear fruit over time.

Keep doing your best and making those investments, grandparents. Seize every moment you can with your grandkids.

How would you put into words the satisfaction you experience as a Nana, Papa, Grandma, or Gramps? Encourage other grandparents by sharing your thoughts on our Facebook page here.