Bridging the GenerationsMr. Tim Snyder, CLR Director of Media Services and R&D
Clearly Caring Magazine, Jan/Feb 2008, Vol. 28, No. 1
"No cowboy was ever faster on the draw than a grandparent pulling a baby picture out of a wallet." - Author Unknown
There is probably no image more heartwarming than a beaming grandmother tenderly holding her newborn grandchild. Equally appealing is the picture of a proud grandfather teaching his eager grandchildren the fine art of casting a fishing lure into the water on a sun-drenched day. These are among the common stereotypes that most of us envision when we consider the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. The beauty of this type of relationship is found in its simplicity. There is great joy that both the young and old derive from just being together.
The relationship changes as the years pass. Grandparents grow older and often times less capable of enjoying the same activities. Grandchildren also grow older and outgrow certain aspects of the relationship. That doesn’t mean grandma and grandpa are any less proud or that a grandchild’s love has diminished. Things just change.
It’s inevitable that we change as we grow older. How will we handle that change? Perhaps the bigger question is: What can we do to encourage people at opposite ends of the age spectrum (grandparents and grandchildren) to continue to value each other?
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” - Satchell Paige
Preconceived notions about age can put a roadblock into a relationship. A teenager decides that old people don’t know anything, and an elderly person views the teenager as nothing but trouble. The teenager and the senior would likely find just the opposite if they took the time to get to know one another.
Grandparents have a lot to offer, even after the cuddling stage is outgrown. They may have special talents and skills to pass on. Grandchildren may find family history to be a fascinating thing if they just take the time to sit at grandpa’s feet. Most important is the legacy that Christian grandparents pass on. Through word and deed they are God’s instruments for passing on the legacy of life that can only be found in Jesus. The Biblical example of Timothy and his grandmother Lois instantly comes to mind (2 Timothy 1:5 and 3:15).
Bridging the Gap
Grandchildren (even the teenage ones) have a lot to offer too. For instance, they can teach grandma how to communicate with email (yes, you can teach old dogs and grandmothers new tricks). Grandchildren can keep grandparents young at heart by including them in their lives as they share their experiences. Another opportunity arises when grandparents reach the stage of life where they require extra care and assistance. Grandchildren can and should be part of the caregiving process as they are able. This provides a means of teaching your children that the gifts that God has given them are meaningless unless used in a spirit of love (1 Corinthians 13).
This brief article barely scratches the surface, but hopefully you get the picture. Family relationships can help us to recognize life’s value from beginning to end.
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