May 5, 2014 by Stacy McDonald
“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” Proverbs 17:6
I often hear from Christian parents who are frustrated with the negative influence grandparents or other extended family members have on their children. Typically it has to do with the undermining of authority or a subtle disrespect for the family standards or boundaries. This is sad for a number of reasons.
While most grandparents probably think it’s cute, and enjoy finally getting to be the “good guy” after years of having to say “no” so often, I don’t think many grandparents realize what a wonderful opportunity they have to bless and enhance their own children’s parenting efforts.
I wrote the following prayer and commitment for my grandchildren’s sake, and I told my children they can hold me to it! How about you?
I pray that I will always support my children’s child rearing efforts and not tear them down, remembering how difficult it is for a parent to make unpopular decisions for the sake of their child’s good (even if I as a grandparent don’t always agree with their decisions). And shouldn’t we, as grandparents, want our grandchild’s good too?
I pray that I will never undermine my children’s authority over their children, make fun of their rules, or put into question parental motives in an effort to be the “good guy” in my grandchildren’s eyes.
I pray that I will encourage my grandchildren to always remember that their parents love them and have their best interest in mind—especially when their mother or father withhold something desirable or encourage efforts that are difficult.
I once heard a grandparent say, “It’s not a grandparent’s right to spoil their grandchildren; it’s their duty.”
I pray that if I’m ever tempted to view “spoiling” my grandchildren as a virtue, I will remember what the word “spoil” actually means: “To corrupt; to cause to decay and perish; to vitiate; to mar; to ruin; to destroy; to lose the valuable qualities.”
There is indeed a distinctly relaxed and close relationship grandparents have with their grandchildren, as they are finally able to enjoy their offspring without the added weight and responsibility of “raising” them.
Few parents enjoy looking into those great big pleading eyes, amplified by those adorable chubby cheeks, and having to say, “No, you may not…” So why make the parent’s job more difficult; or make the child any more disappointed or less content than necessary?
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17)
Parents have the duty of nurturing and faithfully training their children, which often involves a liberal amount of “no” in the child’s life. (And, ironically, is exactly what will keep grandchildren enjoyable Proverbs 29:15). However, I pray that I will always remember how difficult parenting is, and encourage contentment and parental respect in my grandchildren.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’” (Ephesians 6:1–3)
I must view these things as my duty, and not as a favor to my children, because I love my grandchildren and want to see them grow up thankful, respectful, self-controlled, godly, and honoring their father and mother. I do not want to cause conflict, be a stumbling block, or tear down what my children are attempting to build up—which is my legacy (Psalm 127:3).
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. (Psalm 127:3)