Grandchildren are a blessing from God. They truly breathe new life into the parents whose children are leaving, or have left, home. I'm speaking from experience—empty nest syndrome is real. Molly, my granddaughter, has just turned four. This is the first birthday "Gama" and "Papa D" have been able to be a part of her birthday celebration. Being part of a military family and stationed "beyond our reach" has made it impossible for us to be there. Now home, we love spending time with them, babysitting, sleepovers, and showering them with love and kisses. It's almost as if we've become little kids again. Watching them and remembering when we had that much energy and when and what we used to do when we were that age is fun—mostly—and sometimes a little depressing. The ways we played and the ways their generation plays can be so drastically different. Games weren't electronic (at least not nearly as sophisticated as electronics are now). I played in the mud—I, and my three brothers, LOVED the mud—and critters and bugs of all sorts. We loved to pin bath towels around our necks and play super heroes. We also played as police, doctors, postal workers, you name it....
Now, generally speaking, many young eyes are glued to televisions, video game screens, electronic tablets, smart phones...you get the picture. Now, there's nothing wrong with these things, they just don't need to be the all-out everything in a child's world. We really need to encourage more use of their imaginations, as well as reading, writing (not typing), and play. We need to do more to raise generations of thinkers and doers—with firm, not shallow, roots in the Word of God—not mindless drones with no drive, no cares, no ambition. The Bible says that we are to "bring [children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4 ESV). I recommend daily family devotional time. And, yes, I know this is hectic and can seem impossible with little ones, but it is doable. Part of teaching children is the discipline to be still and listen at appropriate times and to see us actually doing these things. It IS doable! It may take some time to make it habitual, but you can. We have always prayed at our house before meals, but one thing we added a few months ago is holding hands while we pray. I believe it has helped in keeping us bonded...especially through our last son's "teenage-ism."
I'll conclude with these:
"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established" (Proverbs 24:3 ESV).
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46–49 ESV).
(Written as a Blog Post and for September 2014 Reflections Column in TFWB.)