A wise man once told me, “If you want to see how well you raised your own children, look at your grandchildren.”
Being a grandparent is becoming more complex these days, and I’m happy to see that many grandparents are making the effort to keep in step with their grandchildren.
Grandparents have important roles in transmitting wisdom and values, providing a link to the past, and being an extra source of support and guidance for grandkids. Sometimes kids need to hear it from someone other than their parents, and grandparents can fill that role to perfection.
I hope you’re very involved in your grandchildren’s lives. Invest time listening to them, getting involved in their pursuits, teaching them skills, and just hanging out together. Show them your workshop, your collections, your hobbies, or other things you’re interested in. Ask their opinions on something you’re doing. Go on walks or run errands together. Take interest in the little things they enjoy.
Your involvement builds a strong relationship, and that will be a great source of joy through the years. But there’s also a side benefit if you play it right.
One granddad told me that he and his wife intentionally make their time with the grandkids also a benefit to their parents’ marriages. They regularly have a cousins’ day or cousins’ weekend at their house, no parents allowed. It becomes a date night or a weekend away that their grown children deeply appreciate.
Of course, depending on how many cousins there are, this could get rather involved. Grandparents should only take on what they can handle. But for this granddad, he knows he is making a difference not only in his grandkids’ lives, but he’s also investing in healthy marriages for their parents.
If you’re a grandparent, I encourage you to take the initiative and pick a day or a weekend. Your children and their spouses probably don’t get away together as often as they should. And the benefits of investing in your grandchildren are great for you and for them! And while you’re at it, you can make it a win-win-win by giving their parents a break while you’re at it.