Our youngest daughter starts preschool tomorrow. The teachers are having a fun breakfast picnic for the kids and families to start the year. She is so excited!
My baby starting preschool is enough to make this mommy shed a tear, but to top off that, I can’t go with her to her first day because I need to take one of our other children to an appointment 3 hours away from home. I think the 50 emotions of guilt, sadness, excitement for her, the weirdness of everyone being in school, is about all I can handle.
The only thing saving my sanity is that I’m blessed with a mom and a mother-in-law that graciously bail me out of these type of problems. Not only does Arianna get to go to her first day with her Mimi (my mom) she also gets to go with Grandma and Grandpa (my in-laws).
How lucky is that? (For both of us!)
Last night, my husband and I were discussing how blessed we are to have parents that are loving and involved with our kids. As I was working through my gratitude journal, I started making a list of things that excellent grandparents do. I’m sure there are many, many more things I could add to this list (and I’d love to hear what you would add in the comments) but here are 5 important things excellent grandparents do:
1. Excellent grandparents encourage their children and grandchildren.
Coddling and encouraging are not the same thing. Excellent grandparents encourage their children and grandchildren to do their best and to keep trying. Excellent grandparents know their children and grandchildren’s strengths and weaknesses and inspire them excel and to keep going even when it’s easier not to. Excellent grandparents know how to make their family feel special without spoiling them.
2. Excellent grandparents are present in their families lives.
I know that not every family is blessed to have grandma and grandpa within an hour of their home. Excellent grandparents are involved and present in their families lives whether they live 5 miles away or 5,000 miles away. I know 85-year-old grandmas that text or Skype their grandkids to keep in touch. These amazing grandparents don’t expect someone to do it for them, they are intentional people and take the initiative to lead the family.
Excellent grandparents take interest in what their children and grandchildren are into. They make time to know them, give hugs, and be there for their family whether it’s to talk through a hard problem or celebrate an accomplishment! Excellent grandparents have special foods that they make for their grandchildren, games they play together, and activities that they do with their grandchildren that are unique to them. Excellent grandparents have nicknames for their grandchildren that are loving, not embarrassing.
3. Excellent grandparents inspire their families to be better people.
Whether it’s through acts of service, the way they show love to those that may seem hard to love, or by motivating others, excellent grandparents are intentional in the shaping of their family’s morals and interests.
4. Excellent grandparents point their families to God.
Whether it is going to church together, eating a family meal together after church, taking the grandkids to Wednesday night church activities, or praying together excellent grandparents point their families to God. Excellent grandparents know there is more than our earthly lives and lead for eternity!
5. Excellent grandparents help instill a positive work ethic within their families.
Our grandparents had to work to build a better life for their children and grandchildren. Excellent grandparents help their own children train up their grandchildren to be hard workers, to be honest, and to be people that others want to work with and be around.
So what do you do if you have never had an example like this?
If you have strained family relationships, you can still have family without being related biologically. For those of you who may not be a grandparent yet, or are grandparents but feel like you have strained relationships within your family, here are some things to consider:
- What do you wish your own family did differently (go to church together, pray together, etcetera). What can you do to do some of those things (you may have to take the first step)?
- What memories of your own grandparents left an impact on you positively and negatively?
- What do you want your family to remember about you? How can you start that legacy now?
- Is there someone in your life that could use your mentoring?