The Value of Grandparents

The Value of Grandparents

We value grandparents. Today with both parents working, grandparents' help is necessary for the survival of family life. There are 14 million grandparents in the UK. 80% have some hands on family involvement. Over 1 million grandparents are denied access to their grandchildren through marriage and relationship break-ups. Grandparents hold broken families together. Grandparents take the place of hopeless parents. Grandparents feed and clothe their grandchildren. They have always done so. Kinship Carers are now recognised by the social services. Grandparents' contribute the equivalent of £4 billion to the economy. The youngest grandparent known in the UK was 28 and the youngest great grandparent was 54. 20% of grandparents are under 60 years of age. Some grandparents are taken for granted. Some are ignored in later life. But most are loved. Grandparents Day was instituted by USA President Jimmy Carter a devout Christian. Here are two poems on grandparents.


Everything my grandma does
is something special made with love.
She take time to add the extra touch
that says, "I love you very much."
She fixes hurts with a kiss and smile
and tell good stories grandma-style.
It's warm and cosy on her lap
for secret telling or a nap.
And when I say my prayer at night,
I ask God to bless and hold her tight.
Cause when it comes to giving hugs
my grandma's arms are filled with love!


You are remembered by each passing day
In our hearts and soul for you we pray.
Looking back to the days I woke up to you
And to the days you spent with me to.

I'd run to you, and sit on your knee,
Rocking in the chair, was just you and me.
With you I always went along for a ride,
I sat by you, right by your side.

You would hold my hand, and give a good night kiss.
These days remembered, I will always miss.
Sometimes as I remember you, I beg and I cry,
Wishing that you would have never died.

But as the days go on, for you I will pray,
And remember you by each passing day.

That last poem sums up the beauty and sorrow of being a grandparent. It's true that we are living longer and that grandparents are around for longer also. There are more great-grandparents these days as well. But grandparents die and children lose someone important to them. It is a natural process of course. But there is added poignancy in the fact that the grandparent's life is going to end while the child's life is in its earliest years. It's hard to think of leaving little ones who mean so much. You would like to be around longer for them but you won't be. You would like to be there throughout their lives to watch over them but you can't be. You wonder what will happen to them, what will they make of their lives and you will not share in it. The human condition is summed up in these thoughts. For children a gap in their lives is created when grandparents and great grandparents are no longer there. We remember our own grandparents throughout our lives. I can still remember the smell of my grandfather's hut with its creosote and pipe tobacco, the stacked wood and the dust and mustiness in summer. Christine vividly remembers weekly sometimes daily visits to her Gran, sitting quietly, getting a cake to eat. Grandparents are more active today. Even great grandparents are. Our Jack calls me the best old man goalkeeper he knows. He expects me to run around the park for hours here playing football with him. After a week I'm fitter than I was and just a little bit exhausted. Grandparents have more time to enjoy the moment with grandchildren. The pressures of bringing up children are over. There is a safer distance. The disciplinary role is less pronounced. The relationship can be deeper and better than with children. Sharing in the lives of little ones is a special privilege. And because we all know that it must end, it is made all the more precious. So that we don't all start crying here is the lighter side of being a grandparent and great grandparents.

My grandchildren believe I'm the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too.

Two things I dislike about my granddaughter - when she won't take her afternoon nap, and when she won't let me take mine.

The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy.

Little Ben came into the house with a new harmonica. 'Grandpa, do you mind if I play this in here?' Of course not, Ben. I love music. In fact, when your Grandma and I were young, music saved my life.' 'What happened?' 'Well, it was during the famous Johnstown flood. The dam broke, and when the water hit our house, it knocked it right off the foundation. Grandma got on the dining room table and floated out safely.' 'How about you?' 'Me? I accompanied her on the piano!'

A grandfather from Glasgow decided to prepare his will and make his final requests. He told his minister that he had two final requests. First, he wanted to be cremated, and second, he wanted his ashes scattered over Ibrox Stadium. "Why?” the minister asked. He answered, "Then I'll be sure my son visits me once a fortnight. 

And here are some songs especially for grandparents. "You're So Varicose Vein" by Carly Simon "How Can You Mend A Broken Hip?" by the Bee Gees "I Can't See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash "These Boots Give Me Arthritis" by Nancy Sinatra "Talking' Bout My Medication" by The Who and "Bald Thing" by the Troggs.

The Bible mentions grandparents significantly. Deuteronomy 4:9  “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. ”Proverbs 17:6  “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 13:22  “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” Psalm 103:17  “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children” Psalms 128:1-6  “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.  You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours.  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.  May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.  May you live to see your children’s children—peace be on Israel.” Timothy 1:5  “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

If you are a Christian grandparent you have the joy of passing on your faith to your grandchildren. They are often more receptive than our children were and are. I have often met families in bereavement. The grandparent has died. He or she was a Christian, or at least a believer in God and a church-goer. You meet absolute and total lack of comprehension of such a belief and value system. Some children and grandchildren patronise and pity Gran or Granpa for believing in God and living a good life.

The Christian Sunday Schools of our land are kept going by the commitment of grandparents in bringing along their grandchildren. Now the Christian promise is of eternal life to follow. Many people talk of Gran or Granpa being 'up there' looking after them or looking down on them. They find comfort in thinking that. It takes the pain of loss away a little bit. The problem for Christian grandparents is that our grandchildren and great grandchildren may not ever become Christians. It is hurtful for us to think so. We do not know how our grandchildren and great grandchildren will live out their lives and we do not know for sure where they will be in eternal life.

We simply must as we surely do – place them in the hands of our loving God in our prayers. We must exercise faith and hope and love. Not everyone becomes a parent and not everyone becomes a grandparent. But most grandparents regard it as a life privilege and fulfilment to become so and a cause for thanksgiving. On this special day thanksgiving is given back in recognition for all grandparents have contributed to our lives and for what we are able to contribute to the lives of grandchildren and great grandchildren.


Robert Anderson 2017

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