Grandparents often dismiss the importance of their family role
Published 8:15 am Thursday, January 11, 2024
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: As new grandparents, we are excited about our new role, but many of our friends are not only grandparents, but caregivers to their children’s children. What has happened in society to cause this, and can grandparents turn it to something good for their grandchildren? – G.G.
Dear G.G.: A few years ago, an article revealed a growing trend of grandparents caring for grandchildren. Multiple reasons were cited for this, such as parents on active military duty, parents incarcerated, single parents battling life-threatening diseases, teen pregnancy, etc. A subhead in the article shouted, “Grandparents to the rescue!”
A grandfather was asked if he resented his retirement being interrupted by having to raise his young grandchildren due to their parents’ deaths in an automobile accident. He said, “It is my duty. I certainly don’t want strangers raising my son’s children. Besides, what are grandparents for?” Some grandparents resent the intrusion; others see it as a blessing and are grateful for the opportunity to provide stability in the midst of emotional trauma difficult for any youth to cope with.
One hundred years ago, similar conditions would not have presented the same challenges. Multigenerational homes were common, particularly in farm communities that were the backbone of our nation. Society did not look down on multigenerational homes. Many collectively worked the farm, maintained household chores, and prepared the meals. Everyone pitched in. Then they would all retreat to the front porch in the cool of the evening or gather around the fireplace to keep warm in the winter.
Grandparents often dismiss the importance of their family role. While society has belittled the impact of the older generations, the elderly have too easily relinquished their roles without much thought. The Bible tells us to care for our family members, especially our immediate families (see 1 Timothy 5:8).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)