Grandparents don't always choose to be babysitters for their grandchildren, but it is often expected of us. Whether we do or don't, we can all sit with our little ones in special times of giving attention and love.
Romans 12:16 (ESV) says, "Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight." Can you imagine with me the picture of a wrinkled, white haired grandparent surrounded by children laughing and listening to one another?
I have had the challenge and privilege of caring for each of my grandladies and grandmen before they started school. Babysitting, for me, has been a daily experience. But there are times now that we are offered the opportunity to spend time with them over night or throughout the weekend.
Recently, we had our oldest Grandladies (ages 13 and 11) visit over night. Memories were made with a walk around the park, a funny movie, shopping for a checker board, a united effort to make a yummy dinner, and then roasting marshmallows over the fire pit. It was wonderful to hear how much they loved spending time with us. Times like these will get fewer, and so we made the most of it. A few planned activities was all it took to make the time remarkable. But the activities do not compare to the conversations and laughter we shared. We enjoyed each other. We had fun!
Some Grandpas and Grandmas live far away from their grands. They are blessed to see them at vacation time or on special family occasions. Others see their children and grandchildren often. Both can enjoy the role of Babysitter. We only need to think out of the box when we find time to sit with our precious little ones.
Those who live across the miles from their grandchildren have many opportunities to communicate today that were not available in the past. Technology makes it possible for us to see each other and spend some quality time together. Taking the time to read or ask questions over the computer could be the path to bonding. For those who feel unable to traverse the electronic maze, I would say, "Try it". You have a chance to be blessed and to be a blessing.
Neighborly grandparents are not limited to time spent reading or playing. Going on special outings or participating in children's art, sports or educational activities as they grow keeps us close and keeps us active as well.
Above all it is most important to enjoy our grandchildren. We should greet them with open arms and send them home with a smile and a promise to see them again soon. Every opportunity with them should be an opportunity to bless them.
A note for those raising grandchildren: It is a difficult task to be both parent and grandparent. In my opinion it is very important to be the best parent you can be for them. Maybe there will be times when you can slip into the role of grandparent and enjoy the bond you have in a different light. Look for those opportunities not only for your sake but theirs as well. Nurturing the unique relationship of grandparent and child is worth it to both parties.
Father God, You open Your arms to all who would come to You. You make the time we spend with You full of new and exciting revelations. I don't spend near as much time as I should with You. I am sorry for that. Thank You for the love You pour out on us every day. Thank You for welcoming all the little children and bringing them close to You. Teach me to be a grandparent like You are a Father to me. You can teach me so much!