Author: Jaqueline Kinmont
Upon entering the tiny bookstore, looking around quickly, I familiarise myself with the layout of the shelves while cautiously gravitating towards the section labelled 'parenting'.
Without any assistance forthcoming from the girl in the blue dress and red shoes, I scanned the three wooden shelves, loosely packed with soft cover books.
'Okay, let’s see,' I whispered.
I started from the beginning again, more slowly this time, persuasively scouring the sale books on the top shelf, intermittently pulling out a book here and there with my index finger so as to see the cover page and title more clearly.
I perused the second shelf, noting a well-known author snuggled between some other authors also starting with the letter 'D'.
Kneeling on the floor, tightly clutching my handbag against my right thigh, my head slightly cocked to one side, the fingers of my left hand dancing back and forth along the book spines, as if playing on a child’s keyboard ,muttering to myself, I suddenly noticed, out of the corner of my eye, two red shoes walking toward me.
'Excuse me Madam, may I help you?'
Without looking in the direction of the voice I said, 'Yes, I am looking for a book on grandparenting.'
Pushing myself up off the floor with my left hand, while slinging my bag over my right shoulder, I straightened myself to come face to face with the young girl smiling sweetly at me, whom I imagined to be no more than eighteen years of age.
For a split second I witnessed the girl’s dark brows pulling together while forming deep furrows just above the bridge of her nose.
'Sorry Madam, who did you say was the author?'
I politely thanked her for her help and headed for the door.
While sitting buckled up in my car waiting for the boom to offer me access to the outside world, I couldn’t help but wonder.
I have birthed, weaned, and raised my two kids, blessing them as they left; crying my way through the 'empty nest syndrome' wishing that they hadn’t grown up so soon.
I have huffed and puffed; sweating my way through menopause, Kleenex neatly folded in under my watch strap for back-up purposes.
I am now gracefully entering the third trimester of my life and yet, I have no clue on how to be a grandmother!
Where do I enlist, and who do I consult to show me the ropes of how a biblical grandmother should act?
After all, none of this was any of my doings!
These same thoughts led me to research for myself, and pen what I perceive as important; on how to be a biblical grandmother to my three and a half grandsons.
I am a rookie so I won’t attempt to offer personal advice or clear bible passages that specifically describe the duties of a grandparent, but only some qualities, common sense, and biblical principles that I have learned along the way.
Psalm 78 says it is good to look back, that we might learn from the mistakes of past generations and not repeat those mistakes. We should tell our children and grandchildren about God’s providential care, teaching each generation to obey the Lord and to set their hope in Him.
If I were to summarise with a spiritual lens, I could affirm that grandparents have a unique and awesome opportunity to teach biblical values and pass them on to yet another generation in creative and committed ways.
I believe that grandparents play an awesome role in Gods design, free from the responsibility to train and discipline a child.
Grandparents can provide wisdom beyond that of the parents, since they have already walked this road many years before.
A grandparent’s role is not to supersede the parent but to support, encourage, and counsel as needed, never intruding upon a parental decision in front of the child.
When parents, grandparents, and children are living out their roles as God designed, the entire family thrives.
'Grandparents, like heroes, are as necessary to a child’s growth as vitamins.' (Joyce Allston)
It takes at least three generations to become a grandparent.
'Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, o God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might, to all who are to come”
In a survey taken many years ago, children were asked to respond to two questions:
- How do grandmas differ from your mother? (the children said):
- Grandma’s usually give you things
- They like for you to eat a lot
- They are harder to explain things to
- They hug too much
- How do your grandpa’s differ from your dad? (the children said):
- Grandpa’s have better stories to tell than dads do
- They get sicker than fathers
- They need more naps
- They let you do things that fathers say you aren’t old enough to do
- They think you are the greatest child in the world, when everybody knows that you aren’t
Proverbs 17:6 says 'Children’s children are the crown of old men'.
'Grandchildren, like children, are a reward', Psalm 127:3 – a blessing from the Lord, and one way that He shows His goodness towards us.
Just as grandchildren have obligations to love and honour their grandparents, so grandparents have responsibilities towards their children’s children. (Proverbs 13:22).
The bible gives examples of grandparents, both wicked as 2 Kings 11 recounts, and unusual, as the book of Ruth recounts. This reminds us that grand-parenting can come in many forms.
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