“My grandparenting role is as a servant watching for ways to serve my Master by serving and anticipating my family’s needs.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 2, 2021
by Guest Writer Bill Ibsen
For this cause a man shall LEAVE his father and his mother, and shall CLEAVE to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
My very good friend Bill Ibsen and I have followed Jesus together for over 16 years. We have been in an intimate community group with our wives for 11 years and traveled to Israel and India with our 16-year-old daughters. In addition, we have enjoyed a book club studying classics over the past 7 years. I love and admire Bill for his love for the Lord and his family. For the next five Fridays, Wisdom Hunters in blessed to share Bill’s wisdom on grandparenting as he and Alison enjoy the company of five grandbabies! Here’s the second of five devotionals on grandparenting:
Loving grandchildren well involves healthy boundaries for Grandparents!
My Adult Children Make the Rules
My children and their spouses unilaterally make their own family rules now – not me. As a new family unit independent of my home, my children’s House Rules reign supreme whenever I interact with them or their children, and if I dismiss, neglect, or override these rules, I directly undermine the authority of my children and unintentionally disrespect them. I must follow their family rules as it regards interacting with their family to the letter in order to respect them and honor their wishes for how their child is to be raised. I don’t get a say in the matter – just as I wouldn’t want my parents to impose or bully me with their rules on my household 30 years ago.
How they discipline their children, what they should or shouldn’t eat, dress, hairstyles, what media they consume or don’t consume, how they should train their dog, etc, are not matters up for discussion, but rather compliance. I should treat those family rules with the same respect that I would treat any of my neighbor’s house rules (i.e. “Take off your shoes before entering,” or “Please don’t feed little Bobby junk food).
Serve, Serve, Serve
My new role is to serve them as they define the word service – not the way I define service. Again, a component of good service is to respect and obey their household rules. My opinions about their household rules are of no relevance to them. While I am their elder, I’m also an adult, and a representative, ambassador, and incarnate minister of Jesus Christ, so above all, my job is to serve and love them. I should never expect my children, in-law children, or grandchildren to serve me, because they have no obligation to do so, and supposedly I am more mature.
I serve them, period. I may allow them to serve me, but that’s different than expecting them to serve me. To serve is to minister to them. My grandparenting role is as a servant watching for ways to serve my Master by serving and anticipating my family’s needs – particularly those of my kids, my in-law kids, and my grandchildren. (Our experience with this approach has proven to offer more ways of service than we can actually fulfill – and even requires us having to say “no” from time to time!).
Healthy grandparents exist to support and strengthen married children and in-law children’s relationships in whatever form that may look like, i.e., Grandparenting, taking care of their dog, helping them with looking after their house when they travel, helping them with household projects where they have asked for help, etc. We can offer to help, but to demand to help or to act “hurt” for them declining makes the service all about me, not about their needs, which amounts to manipulation (bad). Perhaps you ask your adult children how to best serve them in this season of life.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).
Heavenly Father, show me how to serve my family well with patient and selfless love, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Consider asking your adult children how you can serve them best in this season of their life.
Evan Craft, Redimi2, Danny Gorkey: Be Alright
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