Influence: Grandparenting and parenting


This spring was very busy for us because we had three graduations in our family.

In May, Andrew turned eighteen, and in June, he received his high school diploma. I was shocked to see everything that was happening to get him ready for the celebrations and ceremonies. He received a suit from his brother to wear. His dad took him shoe and belt shopping. An hour before we were scheduled to leave, his mother was ironing his shirt so it would be freshly pressed. She also placed the order for the corsage for his escort.

I suggested that I could show Andrew how to iron the shirt for himself, thinking this might be a chance to give him some helpful direction. With a big smile he said “It’s okay, Grandma. She likes to do this for me”. I thought I would take it one step further and asked “If you live alone and are unable to iron a shirt, what will happen?” He gave me a look that hinted I just didn’t understand life and uttered a very simple answer “YouTube”!

In comparison to my childhood or even the time I spent rearing my kids, things are very different today. They have instant access to data, guidelines, and an endless supply of ideas from all over the world. However, there are some things that they cannot obtain without family support.

I made the offer to accompany Andrew as he left to pick up the corsage. He seemed surprised that I was interested in going with him, but I knew that even a short drive would give me a chance to discuss issues that I hoped he would take into consideration. We discussed how now that he is of legal age, he will have to make decisions regarding his long-term career, pensions, and health care that he hadn’t had to weeks earlier. I got the chance to discuss how certain investments could lessen his income tax obligations because of his thoughtful questions.

When we left one store, Andrew turned to me and said “You are such a nice lady”. I asked how he came to that conclusion he stated “You made that business owner’s day”. He had noticed that I had only spoken with the man for a short while, asking him about his background and store. When we left the next store, Andrew said “You almost had that guy crying”. I had questioned the cashier about whether he and his grandmother had ever gone shopping together and was informed that she had passed away when he was a baby. Thank goodness, by inquiring as to whether he had any good aunts, I was able to turn around the mood!

We had a fruitful discussion about RSVPs, Andrew gushed to his mother when we got home. Nearby, Andrew, it was RSPs!

Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are only two things that grandparents and parents can do to significantly benefit the following generations. We can hold them in our prayers and set a good example for them.

Giving them money without teaching them is useless. We are being hypocritical by giving them advice that we don’t follow ourselves. They won’t mature if you take on their responsibilities rather than letting them handle things on their own.

Our unique position allows us to contribute when we offer emotional and spiritual support.

There is YouTube for everything else!

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