How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society! How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogue, especially within the context of the family. Children and the elderly build the future of people: children because they lead history forward, the elderly because they transmit the experience and wisdom of their lives.
Who can deny the irreplaceable role of grandparents in a child’s life?
Children do best in life when their sense of identity is deeply rooted in the best that their family history has to offer, including its faith tradition. Grandparents are the keepers of the family history, and the foundation of cherished family traditions. They are also the ones who know the funny and embarrassing stories about mum and dad and the time to retell them to eager listeners!
The birth of a grandparent
“I can still vividly recall the moment I saw our first-born walk from the birthing room with his first born in his arms. Things would forever be different for my wife Liz and I. Besides now embracing a whole new generation, we had to get our head around the fact we had someone special in common with another couple who we were just getting to know, the parents of the mother of the new babe. We were now co-grandparents to a mysterious new human being.
After half a life time of nurturing and walking with our own children, it is almost like sitting in the back seat of the family bus as the younger drivers navigate the perils and joys of parenthood.
One of the big differences in being a passenger-grandparent, is that the journey seems far less perilous and joy has expanded.” – Vic O’Callaghan
A Grandparent’s Prayer
Lord Jesus, be with me as I love my grandchildren. Let your love for them flow through me, in my actions and words, thoughts and prayers.
Help my grandchildren to be carefree in youth, and to grow in wisdom and strength. Give them courage for the hardships, and gratitude for the blessings that will come their way.
Lord, bless their parents and reward them for accepting the gift of children. Bless the efforts I made to be a good grandparent. Heal the wounds in my family, and bring us all to you.
Sts Joachim and Anne, pray for us. Amen
Tips for Grandparents
- Keepers of the faith
Even if your grandchildren don’t attend Sunday Mass, you can share with them the value of an everyday spirituality.
- Tell stories
Tell them stories of the day of their birth, their baptism day, or your own First Holy Communion or Confirmation, and favourite Easter and Christmas traditions.
- Give blessings
Place one or two hands on the shoulders of the child and ask God to act in his or her life, in your own words. Conclude with a Sign of the Cross marked with the thumb on the child’s forehead. (For the basis of this tradition, read about Jacob blessing his grandchildren in Genesis, chapter 48.)
- Pray for your grandchildren and teach them to pray
Teach them your favourite prayers eg. Jesus, I trust in you, a Morning Offering, or the Guardian Angel prayer.
Long distance Grandparenting
Live remotely from your granchildren? You can still nurture a rich and rewarding relationship with your grandchildren from afar.
- EMAIL AND TEXT
Texting by phone is quick and easy, and even better if you can snap a photo or a selfie and send it to their phone or their parents’ phone.
- SKYPE AND FACETIME
Set up a regular Skype or Facetime date to allow for a relaxed conversation. Plan for it by collecting snippets of news, stories, or things to show.
- POST LETTERS
Children love to find something in the letter box just for them. Send them a letter with stories, clippings, stickers, pictures, holy cards, silly jokes, drawings or simple recipe ideas. Visit CathFamily.org for craft and recipe ideas to share with your grandkids.