Three Lessons From Grandparents

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We just enjoyed a great weeklong visit with my parents, who made the long trek to Missouri from Colorado. Over the past eight days, we spent lots of quality time playing in the backyard, visiting over meals, attending school events and remembering times past.

Here are three observations I made — if you are a parent, you’ve probably arrived at similar conclusions:

  1. Grandparents arrive when you need them most. Fall 2018 at the Birt household is turning out to be a crazy time unlike any other in recent memory. Julie is finalizing her dissertation and preparing to give her defense in a few weeks’ time. We’re wrapping up production on Frozen, But Not Forgotten, which is due to the printer by Dec. 1. And I’m learning the ropes of hiring my first team member over at my full-time gig at Trust In Food. So Mom and Dad couldn’t have come at a better time. They marched into the heat of battle like tried-and-true warriors of grandparenting. They juggled kids, played card games and let the parents take a few naps. Does it get any better than this?

  2. Grandparents remind you no parenting journey is easy. When your children are pushing you from behind, kicking your shins or bawling their eyes out, grandparents remind you that you were young once. You weren’t perfect. They questioned what they did as parents. You do, too. There isn’t an opt-out clause in your parenting contract, just a reminder that one day, times will change and you’ll get to look back with fondness and joy. Fondness for the memories. Joy that you’re no longer policing shoving brothers or telling little ones this is absolutely the very last time you’ll be coming to their bedroom or else there will be consequences. Major consequences, mister!

  3. Grandparents value the memories over the material. My best memories of my own grandparents don’t revolve around all of the things they bought me or the places they took me. They revolve around the stories they told me, the time we spent talking in the kitchen or on the couch, the things they shared about God and serving Him faithfully each and every day. Of course, they saw to it we had nice things to enjoy, and they enjoyed blessing us. But the real gift they gave us was their time, their wisdom and their love. My parents did the same thing this week for us.

Grandparents don’t attain their high calling in life because they passed the bar or obtained a special license. They achieve this elevated status because they’ve got plenty of love to give, and they understand that the future of their family—and the world—is in the hands of these little people.

Grandparents see past the immediate fears and worries of parents to what can be—and what our children will become. It is good to be reminded of who will one day be in charge. Better to lay the foundation for their future through our good examples and gentle direction than by trying to critique their every move.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being such an important part of our family. Grandparents are truly awesome.

What is the best lesson your grandparents ever taught you? Share it in the comments below.