I am the director of Grandly and the mother of two young children. I am convinced that family is the most important strategic alliance God has given us.
My greatest ally in raising my children is my husband, Gus. We want our children to grow up with faith in God; learning to be charitable, gracious, forgiving, courageous, honest, and respectful. Among the other allies I have are my children’s grandparents. Even though she lives far from us, my mother is my three-year-old daughter’s best friend. They meet up every day via a video call (to chat or read books) and I am able to get some things done as they enjoy their time together. Those few minutes are a joy to my mother and they are a great help for me. My Mom is also one of my greatest encouragers. She is truly an ally to Gus and me.
We are fortunate to have grandparents who are generally on the same page as we are, but I would be lying to you if I said we see eye to eye on everything. Gus and I don’t always agree on everything either.
In my work for Grandly, I am regularly asked by grandparents, “What can I do when I don’t like the way the parents of my grandchildren are parenting?” My answer is short, simple, and to the point. It is, “Become your children’s greatest ally in raising their own children.”
Being frustrated and anxious will not help you become their ally. Instead, I recommend you start here: make a comprehensive list of what you dislike about how your grandchildren are being raised. Then use it as a prayer list. Pray daily, telling God, “These are your problems, Lord, I give them to you. I am a grandma who needs help to do what you told me to do: pass on my faith.” Yes, pray for your grandchildren and pray for their parents but don’t forget to pray for yourself too. You need it!
Next be the solution where you are wanted, not where you want to be. That takes humility.
One of the best ways to find out where and how you are needed is to ask. Many grandparents find it difficult to ask their sons and daughters how they can help. They are used to being the leader of the team, but the roles have switched. I believe grand-parenting is one of the ways God wants us to learn humility. It is a new way for grandparents to love and serve their children which, in turn, will impact their grandchildren.
Many grandparents have said to me how much they love their grandchildren. Few have said to me how much they love their sons-in-law or daughters-in-law. Perhaps that is a place to start. Identify ways to show love to your grandchildren’s parents and support and encourage the positive things they are doing in raising your grandchildren.
How do you become the greatest ally the parents of your grandchildren have?
Pray, encourage, ask.
This article is excerpted from Grandly, copyright © 2023 Grandly Missions, Inc. Grandly has launched an online seminar for grandparents who are seeking to pass on their faith to their grandchildren more effectively. To learn more or to register for the seminar visit https://grandly.org/doitgrandly/.
Top photo credit: a vector illustration of three generations of a family together, from Bigstock.com, © by charactervectorart, stock photo ID: 415580656. Used with permission.
Pili Abouchaar is the director of Grandly. At the age of twenty-four, she moved to the United States in response to the Lord’s call and joined Mike Shaughnessy in making Grandly a reality. She lives with her husband, Gus, and have two beautiful children in Lansing, Michigan.