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Grandparent Creed
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“The birth of a grandchild is a fresh opportunity to love as you have always wanted to love!”

The smiling great-grandmother who said those words in response to my excited announcement of a special new baby in the world seemed to me to be an expert in the field of love. My heart was bursting with it and she made it seem so easy—so natural.

It’s natural to want to give the world and everything in it to this new little wonder-kin. It’s natural for grandparents to want to help, to teach, and to do for.  And it’s natural for said child to grow up feeling entitled, frustrated, and bored.

In a recent airing of exasperations, the thirteen-year-old infinitely-loved grandchild blurted out, “If you wanted me to learn responsibility, why didn’t you teach it to me seven years ago?”

Face it: grandparents are just older moms and dads trying to do better for their family the second time around than they did the first time. Supposedly they have more time, money and experience.  And because more children are being raised in single-parent or no-parent families, grandparents are taking on a great deal more responsibility for their upbringing.

What have I learned thus far?
  • Never feel you know all there is to know about parenting or grand-parenting. Each day or hour can present new challenges.
     
  • Try not to over-react. Children are born with a propensity for testing boundaries. They are experts at detecting weakness or supposed weaknesses in order to justify their own behavior.
     
  • Your grandchild may look upon you as Mr. and Mrs. God in the early years. Each weakness discovered reveals you as disgustingly human. It’s a discovery they never really want to make. Be watchful of revealing the impulsive, unlovely traits that spring so readily to the surface. Even adult grandchildren don’t want to see the shining symbols of their childhood tarnished by cutting words or rude behavior.
     
  • It’s okay to be human, but try to be the best, most loving, thoughtful human you can be. Don’t lie when you’re in pain or trouble. Be honest.
     
  • Be helpful, but not too helpful. Don’t try to tell the parents what to do. Your child is an adult and a parent now and is free of your home rules and ideas. What your adult child needs is your support and reinforcement of his or her parenting efforts, not renewal of your own.
     
  • By example teach respect for others and their possessions. Show respect for laws and leaders. At the same time, remember that earthly possessions are temporary. People are more important.
     
  • Take care of your health; maintain your friendships; improve your mind; and look at grand-parenting as a grand, new adventure.
     
  • Pray always, love always, forgive always!
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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. 


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