SummaryEmily Molitor believes that involving grandparents and children together teaches incredible life lessons. Turns out, we need them more than they need us.
We need grandparents. Society tells us that the “elderly” are a burden, that their needs often outweigh their worth. On the contrary, it is us who are in need.
We need their example, their unconditional love, and their wisdom. Grandparents are there to reiterate to their grandchildren an essential truth: that we are good, and that we are lovable in ourselves. Grandparents are a constant source of affirmation to their grandchildren about the goodness of the child’s existence.
They exhibit this fact through the time spent with their grandchildren and the love showered upon them. The grandchildren do nothing to deserve their love, and yet it is there to bless them throughout life.
Edified by Dignity
They show us how to grow old with dignity, and how to pass from this world to the next in the love of God. We witness their struggles with illness and infirmity, and learn how to suffer with patience. We witness how they persevere in faith even when they lose someone they have loved throughout all of their life.
They show us that the Faith is worth fighting for, and this is a gift of immeasurable worth.
My attention is often drawn to the elderly people, or grandparents, whom I witness at Mass, and I am edified by their example. When I find myself desiring to ease back from a kneeling to sitting position, and then glimpse the pious old woman praying her beads on her knees, I am inspired to remain kneeling.
Frequently I see the same elderly persons at daily Mass and wonder what has made their faith so strong? My desire for holiness is deepened through witnessing their conviction and dedication. I want to have what they have.
In my own life, my grandparents have been an invaluable witness to the Faith, as well as a constant presence and security. They were there for all of the important events in my life, and showered me with love and generosity.
Why were they there? Because they wanted to be, and because they loved me, and that was enough. Yes, our parents love us unconditionally, and we rest assured each night knowing that they will be there to take care of us.
But there is something different about a grandparent being present in your life; you come to realize, as you mature, the gift of their presence. You understand that they don’t have to be there, as your parents perhaps do, but that they draw close to you solely because you mean so much to them.
Deep consolation is found in this knowledge, namely, that someone enjoys your presence this much, that they yearn to be with you for all of the events, trials, and celebrations of your life.
A Lesson of Love
I enjoy watching the way in which my two-year-old daughter interacts with her grandparents, because I see that there is a deep sense of security in her relationship with them. She recognizes their love and desire to be with her, and I can’t help but feel that this relationship teaches her about her own goodness as a child of God.
The fact that she can rest secure in their love and companionship while Mom and Dad are away shows me that she can already innately sense her own meaning and importance as an individual person.
She is learning a valuable lesson of love that I cannot teach her in the same way as her grandparents: namely, she is learning that she is good and holy, and that being with her for her own sake is reason enough to be there.
An integral aspect of the love of grandparents is the fact that it never runs out. The grandchildren continue to come, and the love of the grandparents always expands. Each child takes its place in the family, and the heart of the grandparent welcomes it. Grandparents have the privilege to spoil and give attention to their grandchildren in a special way.
They are not pressured to focus on disciplining and manners as the parents may be, and instead can focus more openly on giving and receiving love.
Stories and Memories
I believe that the role of grandparents in the family community is formative and irreplaceable. They possess the wisdom of their years, and are there to share it with us if we will let them. They provide support and encouragement for young mothers and fathers, and inspire us to keep persevering.
In a family community, grandparents can be involved in the lives of their grandchildren very intimately. If they live close by, they can offer support, lessons, and sometimes babysitting. At some point we may be called to help take care of our grandparents, and to offer a return for some of the love which they have given to us.
Showing compassion in this way is a formative and essential lesson in love, and one which may impact the heart of a child or adult in an eternally defining way.
We should be filled with gratitude for the relationships that we have with our grandparents. Whether or not we live in another state or down the road, the importance of that bond remains the same.
Surely God has a plan for the family, and has put Grandma and Grandpa there at the top of the family tree for us to look up to. I only hope that I will gratefully embrace the opportunities given to me to cherish and learn from them. I hope that I will give my children every opportunity to learn respect and admiration for their grandparents.
I hope that when they grow up, their childhood is blessed with many stories and memories of Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
May God bless all of our grandparents!