by Dr. Ken Canfield

As grandparents, we are mature members of our family system.

And that isn’t just a polite way of saying we’re old. It’s a set of positive characteristics we bring to our children and grandchildren and others with whom we may interact.

Sure, there are some grandparents who don’t really “act their age.” They might play favorites with grandkids or go overboard with spoiling them. They might insist on their own way of doing things or play passive-aggressive games to try to manipulate situations. Those grandparents are out there. But for the rest of us, our age and experiences are benefits to our family members.

Our maturity can be a great advantage.

For one thing, we’re beyond pride. We’ve been around long enough to go through highs and lows. Life has humbled us in some ways. We’ve moved past the need to be recognized or get what we think we deserve. Instead, each day is a blessing and each moment with our family members is an opportunity.

Our adult children are making their own way, and our grandkids are growing and learning. We play our role, and it’s an important one. We’re there to support and encourage and share some wisdom here and there. We provide a calming, consistent presence in a world that’s ever-changing. We make sacrifices and put some of our desires on hold because … it’s not about us.

Also, we know we’re leaving a legacy, and it isn’t built through our wealth or accomplishments, although those can make up part of it. Most of all, we create a strong legacy through our love for our children and grandchildren. That might seem like a lofty ideal, but the idea of legacy provides us with a lot of purpose and hope during these later years.

We can have a positive, selfless perspective on life that is obvious in what we say and do. We can model character qualities and values that are important to us. We can establish traditions and bond with our grandkids through regular activities and simple time together. We can be forces for reconciliation in our families. These are the kinds of things that many of us are already doing as committed, mature grandparents.  

So, don’t forget:

Our investments in our grandkids make a difference.

We help to prepare them for life and equip them to avoid pitfalls and struggles. Let’s be tenacious as we bless, teach, and love our grandchildren and their parents.

How do you see yourself as a mature, stabilizing presence for your grandkids? Share some ideas with other grandparents on our Facebook page here.