Written by Judy Douglass, Author, Blogger, and Podcaster
Grandparenting is certainly one of my favorite seasons of life. I love being with my 10 grandkids, and I also love that they are my children’s responsibility.
I come away from time with them energized and exhausted. I get to exercise creativity and exhibit calming peace. They renew my youth and reveal how old I am.
To me, grandchildren are one of my most important life investments.
I’ve spent a lifetime investing in my own life—discovering and developing into the person God created me to be, doing what he made me for. Similarly, I have spent decades seeking to do the same for my children.
And now I can come alongside my children to contribute to their efforts to do the same for their kiddos.
Grandparenting is a stewardship responsibility and opportunity.
Here are some of the ways I invest in my grandkids:
A true life highlight, for me, is holding a sleeping baby. All other life stops.
If someone says, “Can I take her for you?” or “Do you want to eat lunch?” or “Can you take this call?”—the answer is always the same. “No thanks. I’m good.”
A couple of weeks ago I was caring for my (next-to-last) last grandbaby. He became fretful, missing his mama. I picked him up, cuddled him, sang to him, talked softly to him, and prayed for him. He fell asleep!! For an hour and a half, I contentedly rested on the sofa, cuddling that sleeping baby.
Comforting grandkids will probably last for the rest of my life.
A baby needs comforting when his tummy hurts. A toddler cries when Mommy and Daddy leave. A preschooler’s skinned knee requires a kiss. Learning to read can be formidable for some.
Middle school is a social nightmare and the academic structure daunting. In high school, friends can be unkind and hearts are often broken. And then the future can be frightening. Papa and Jeedoo give comfort.
3. Tell Stories
Usually, the second question (after, “What did you bring us?”) my young grandboys would ask when I arrived was, “Will you tell us a story?”
I love telling stories. Sometimes I make them up. Often I let them join in, and a simple story suddenly includes dark woods, wolves, and themselves as superheroes. Their favorites, though, were stories from mom or dad’s childhood.
Stories serve so many purposes: Engaging with the child, expanding imagination, encouraging creativity, building on family history, conveying values, and more.
4. Give Gifts
My husband told our kids they shouldn’t have any more children (he was joking) because we couldn’t afford my “grandmother gifting” habit. I love giving to my grandkids, and I believe it is a vital part of investing in their lives.
I do give some toys and trinkets, especially things they really want. But my most important are often intangible gifts:
- Books: for every birthday and every Christmas.
- Imagination: art supplies, building sets, pretend props, hand puppets, and so much more.
- Action: active playthings, sports equipment, anything to keep them moving.
- Experiences: outings, the beach, mountains, theme parks—Gatorland was a favorite.
- Time: things to do with me, quiet moments, face time, the time they don’t know about when I pray.
In the next blog post, I share more ways you can invest in your grandchildren!
Judy’s passion is to encourage God’s children to become all they were created to be and to accomplish all they were created to do. In more than 50 years on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, she has done that through writing, editing and speaking.
She partnered with her husband Steve to lead Campus Crusade for 20 years, and focuses on Women’s Resources and leads a ministry to people who love a prodigal. Judy has traveled all over the world to speak and is known for her realness. She resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, Steve. They have three children and 10 grandchildren.