Grandparents love unconditionally
Fr Ireneusz Skubis
Although contemporary grandparents are quite different than those ones before the war times their role in young people's upbringing and their various contribution into family life are still enormous. Grandmother and grandfather can give children love, peace, warmth and security, which is needed so much in upbringing and which parents are not able to give because of their overwork, haste and nervousness. I am speaking about the situation when both parents work and grandparents help to bring up their children. In spite of many problems and efforts of the older people this is the best family-education setting. For grandmother or grandfather are already aware of the importance of their tasks and they have the experiences. Thus they can do a lot of housework more efficiently and better, and first of all they have time for children, they give their attention to them and they love, love, love...
They often play the role of the first educators of their children's children. They often provide material support especially when one parent does not work or when the family is afflicted by unemployment.
As far as the religious life of young people is concerned grandparents' role is very significant. They often are the first teachers of the sign of the cross and short children's prayers. They give the foundations of morality and for their grown up children, even if they criticise them, grandparents are examples of trusting God and having firm faith. I want to remind us of the fact that the magazine 'Moje Pismo Tecza' [My Paper Rainbow], which we publish, can be very helpful in games and grandparents' conversations with their grandchildren. Our readers have signalled this to us. 'Tecza' contains a special pedagogical insert, which informs adults why a given issue refers to a particular educational problem and how we should cope with it. 'Tecza' also gives many ideas of interesting games and it teaches creative thinking.
As far as somewhat older children are concerned they know that grandma always gives them hot meals, which mother cannot often make, that she is a careful listener, precious listener because all family members are in a hurry. And sometimes grandma can support family, always contributing to poor pocket money. Beloved nanny! And grandpa? You can discuss things with him because he knows a lot; he listens to the radio and watches almost all news on television. Father is different because he is totally preoccupied with earning money and has no time to listen.
Sometimes when a family is bigger some children usurp greater rights to grandmother's help or in special cases the right to have her pension. One should emphasise that grandmother or grandfather have no duties in this respect, that they have already fulfilled their responsibilities and all they do now comes from their good will. They also have the right to buy things for themselves, go to the cinema, see their friends and spend their savings on whatever they want. Therefore, one should be very thankful for every good they do.
Unfortunately, I do not remember my grandfathers. I do remember my grandmothers. They both were very pious. One of them was even buried in a Franciscan habit since she belonged to the zealous members of the third order of St Francis. The second grandmother suffered a lot after the death of her 21-year-old daughter whose son she brought up. My grandma was very businesslike, high-principled, demanding much of others but she could demand much of herself, she was honest, helpful, kind.
Using this reflection dedicated to grandparents I would like to turn your attention to the fact that grandparents love unconditionally. And their love cannot be forgotten, we should notice the time they devote to us. We cannot underestimate their efforts when they have always been ready to help like soldiers having overcome the weaknesses of their old age. Today, on the days that are theirs, let us not only remember about a symbolic flower for our grandparents but let us be grateful. Let us kiss their hands and pray for those who went to the Lord. Grandparents are the foundation of every family and one should be aware of the significance of a good foundation.
For my part I wish all women who are grandmothers and all men who are grandfathers that the Holy Spirit grant them abundant gifts of wisdom and piety so that they could do their best for their grandchildren and families, and first of all, that they could pass on to them what is most important: love of Lord God and taking his teaching to heart.