I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t look forward to grand-kids. And, I have to say, it is even better than they all say it is. For the past ten years or so we have had a baby or two to love on, and it has been very kind of God to give us another dose of babies after we have seen our own grow up. And after the baby stage, it keeps getting better.
But anyway. Despite the glory and joy of it all, grandmothers are still prone to fleshly temptations, just like we were when we weren’t grandmas. Big news, I know. If only the gray hair would bring perfection with it, wouldn’t that be nice? But, sorry to say, so far it hasn’t for me or anyone else I know.
So I am about to address one of those fleshly temptations, one that I have heard about quite a bit from young mothers, and I have seen first hand. It is this: grandparents hate to see their little adorable grandchildren receive correction and discipline from their parents. I’m not sure why it is so hard for grandparents, especially Christian grandparents, who really do believe what the Bible says about a father disciplining the child he loves.
But, sad to say, it is common for young parents to feel very jumpy when the grandparents come for a visit because they have to brace themselves for a barrage of criticism about how they are raising (correcting, teaching, disciplining) their children. And funny how it happens that the two-year old decides to branch out into some very naughty behavior while the grandparents are at close (and critical) range to observe.
Now I am not saying that all parents are doing a spectacular job, and therefore grandparents should just chill. But usually it is the young parents who are humbly and diligently training and correcting their children who get in the most trouble from the grandparents. Years ago some friends told us that the grandparents had gotten on their case whenever they had to discipline their kids. And the grandparents said something like this: “We can’t believe you discipline your kids. They are the best grand-kids we have!” And the parents were saying, “Exactly!”
So my point here is to say that grandmothers need to exercise wisdom. Though it may be tugging your heartstrings when the three-year old is receiving (well earned) correction, it is wise not to give way to it. How much better to be a source of encouragement to our children as we see them earnestly trying to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Of course I have to make one qualification here. If something ungodly really is going on in the way your grandchildren are being brought up, then I am certainly not saying here that grandmothers can do nothing. I can imagine all kinds of scenarios where godly grandparents should and must speak to their kids. What I am addressing here is grandmothers being critical every time the two-year old gets his hand flicked for pulling his sister’s hair. Or arguing with the parents when they won’t let the grandchildren see a certain movie or eat a snack right before dinner. That is simply interfering and causes hard feelings all around.
One of my grandsons went through a stage of “flopping.” If he didn’t like what he was told to do, he would collapse on the floor. I remember his father carrying him down the hall (with loud wailing) and thinking “I bless you, my son-in-law! I want good grandchildren!” And the flopping halted because of a loving father’s consistent and kind discipline.
It is hard enough in this modern world to be a consistent Christian parent. So the least we grandparents can do is back our kids up, praying for them, praising them, and biting our tongues when necessary. If we do that, our kids will feel far more comfortable having us around, and they will feel far more at liberty to ask for our advice and help.