(Written by Ken Myers) Grandparents can have such a wonderful impact on their grandchildren’s lives. I know this because I have watched my mother and my grandmother interact over the years with all the children. I owe so very much to my grandmother for all the wisdom, insight, and just plain wonderful memories she left in my heart. My own children were close to my grandmother until she passed away and still talk about their great-grandmother to this day. My mom is passing along this legacy with my children and my sibling’s children as well. It is not hard to be influential in your grandchildren’s lives; it is not as hard as you might think. It just takes love and being involved from the start with those little grand babies.
My grandmother was different from my mom in the way she bonded with us kids. She would sit and talk to us and watch us play. Her health was not as good as my mom’s at the time but she always made herself available to all her grandchildren. She would suggest different games for us to play or talk to us and tell us stories from when she was a kid. She loved to read and would read to us often and would share things she had read. We loved to listen to gramma talk. She was silly and had a twinkle in her eye. The main reason we loved gram so was that she loved us with all her heart. That is something you cannot miss and children pick up on that real quick.
It did not matter how that gram did not have a lot of money or gave us expensive gifts. It did matter that she took time to sit with us and get involved in our games and suggest new ways to do things. When my daughter was small my gram found her a cloth hand sewn barn with a handle filled with farm animals at a garage sale. It quickly became her favorite thing to carry with her wherever she went. Gram would sit and play farm with my little girl and they both had amazing imaginations. They would go on such adventures just sitting there in the living room. My gram not only made my childhood wonderful but she had such an impact on my children’s lives as well. My son only knew her until he was five but he still has fond memories and talks about her often.
My mother was the adventurous type. Where my Gram would sit and read and help the kids use their imaginations my mom was a whole other story and would take them on real live adventures. Ever since the kids were very small she would take them on great adventures. She would find somewhere far away or as near as the back yard to take the kids. She loved to explore and often took the kids to the woods to see what they could find. She bought my son an axe to cut all the dead wood they would come across. They had books about birds so when they saw a bird they could look it up and see the names. She knew so many of the flowers by name and taught my kids and the other grandkids the names of the trees and flowers.
When they did not go out into the woods she was taking them to the bayou a few blocks from the house and let them bring home tadpoles to raise up into frogs. She helped my son find wood for his forts and his inventions. She brought home big boxes and helped them make houses or cars or whatever they could imagine out of the boxes. She put up a pulley system from one of our tall trees in the back yard to another one across the yard. She filled an old duffle bag with rags and tied it to the end of the rope and had a ladder for the kids to climb up and jump on the duffle bag and take a ride across the back yard. She was always thinking up something fun for them to do.
One other time she ordered a truck full of sand and had it delivered and dumped in the driveway so the kids would have a big sand pile to play in. My kids and my sibling’s children never had to worry about having nothing to do while grandma was around! She would make up scavenger hunts and set up relay races and so many other ideas she came up with to make those kiddos happy. It was never a dull moment with my mom. The kids formed a wonderful bond with her, especially my kids.
The kids have a wonderful time with their grandma and she has not only taken them on many adventures but has taught them so many things about nature as well. She has also taught them about our heavenly Father and Jesus who died for them on the cross. She has been teaching the children from the word of God since they were tiny and has taught them to memorize scriptures. What a wonderful relationship to have with a grandparent, not only going on adventures that will leave such wonderful memories but learning about Jesus and knowing that you will be able to see grandma again and spend eternity with her.
My gram did the same for us. She was always sitting and reading the word of God and sharing her love for the Lord. Love is the answer for a wonderful relationship between grandkids and grandparents. An attitude of the heart and a desire to nurture a child for their good is such a blessing. We have been truly blessed in our family to have two such wonderful women. Actually it was three generations of grandmothers; I myself had my great-grandma for twelve years of my life before she went to heaven. I recall going over to her house at least once a week and I always felt such great love. She made us yummy snacks, and if any of us had a doll she would whip out some old material and sit down and make us a new outfit for that doll on the spot. I remember she was tall and always wore an apron; I came up to the pockets on the apron and remember her smell and the cotton handkerchief that was always there.
Sometimes all you have to do is be there and have a loving heart. Just being ready with a snack and whipping up a dolls dress was something very special to a young child. It does not have to be expensive or regal to impress a child. In fact your presence is so much more important than anything you give to them materialistically. Children recognize love and they love spending time with someone who they feel loved by. They love to be talked to and connected with an adult, knowing that someone cares about what they think and takes time to teach them what they know and take them on adventures, even if it is just in the back yard.
Children are not complicated, not when they are really small. If you wait until they are older to begin a relationship it is still possible to do because they are always hungry for the attention and love from a grandparent. But if you start when they are small you will find that this is a relationship unlike any other because for reasons unknown to me children seem to idolize grandparents. I know I did, not because of what they gave me because both my great gram and gram did not have very much but love. My mom is the same but the children have a bond with her that can not be broken. Take the time to spend with your grand babies just talking to them or reading to them or playing marbles or whatever. They need you and you will find fulfillment from the time spent with them as well. Who does not love to be needed and loved just a little bit more and when it comes from a sweet little child it makes it even sweeter.
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About the Author:Ken Myers is an expert advisor on in-home care and family safety issues to many websites and groups. He is also a regular contributor to http://www.gonannies.com. You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo[at]Gmail[dot]com.