Teachers of Wisdom
For most of human history, grandparents have been teachers of wisdom and communicators of important skills to their children and grandchildren, bringing insight to life’s crises and comfort to hurting kids. Grandparents remind busy young parents of the most important things in life: values and faith. And as the family members closest to the final journey of death, they help maintain a realistic view of life’s journey.
Today’s reality is that many grandparents have become free daycare and chauffeurs, relieving some of the load burdening busy parents. A growing segment of the grandparent population actually become foster parents themselves, spending their 60’s repeating what they did in their 20’s, except with a new generation of tech-savvy kids.
In the Rite of Baptism, the deacon admonishes the parents of the child to be baptized that they are the first teachers in the ways of faith. In practice, that task often now falls to the grandparents. For a complex set of reasons, many of today’s parents did not grow up with a lived experience of faith or a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. Many grandparents attempt to step into that void by doing what they can to pass on the faith and the wonders of God to their grandchildren.
Some important cautions:
- The parents are always the parents. They make the decisions or they delegate. Grandparents should not take the dignity of parenting away from mothers and fathers.
- Grandparents must respect the sacredness of the Sacraments and the commitment to the Christian life. Secretly baptizing children or attempting to sneak them in to First Communion or even religious formation is not the will of God or the teaching of the Church (see the previous point).
- Grandparents should pray daily and gently for their children and grandchildren.
- Grandparents should be living examples of true Christian life in a way that will attract their grandchildren to the beauty and effectiveness of the faith.
- The parish must encourage grandparents and help them in sharing the faith, always in the context of a profound respect for the rights and prerogatives of parents.
- The parish must be ready to place our formation processes and activities easily at the disposal of grandparents.
- Parents in our parish who are actively raising their own children in the faith should be ready to support and share with grandparents – and other parents – the means and methods to communicate the truths of our faith and the great treasures of prayer.
Here at POP, some of our grandparents gather regularly. For information about the Catholic Grandparents Association at Prince of Peace, contact Marilyn Henry at 713-244-4217 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Or, visit www.catholicgrandparentsassociation.org .