A few posts ago, I shared with you the importance of saying “no.” Today I want to take a bit of a different approach and talk about the importance of saying “yes.”
The importance of doing so was made abundantly clear to me this morning when my granddaughter came to me with tears rolling down her cheeks.
I asked what was wrong. I couldn’t understand a word she was saying because she was talking so fast and crying so hard that comprehension was impossible.
I put my arm around her shoulders and asked her to slow down and stop crying so I could understand her.
With a few remaining sniffles, she finally said, “I am sad because you won’t play dolls with me. You are always too busy.”
Honestly, it broke my heart to hear her say this. I thought about all the times I have told her “no, I can’t do that now. I’m too busy.” It made me think of that Harry Chapin song from the 70s, “Cat’s In the Cradle.” You know, the one about the father who was always too busy to do anything with his son and later in life, when the father wanted to spend time with his son, the son was too busy.
I decided that if I wanted things to change, it was up to me to change them now! This weekend, my granddaughter and I have a “date” to play dolls. I think we might even do a little coloring in our coloring books!
The importance of spending time with our grandkids
It isn’t always easy to find the time to spend with our little ones, but it is so important, especially for those of us who are in the dual role of parent/grandparent. For my spouse and I it is extremely difficult sometimes because we both work all day and sometimes well into the evening.
As I work for a newspaper, I also cover meetings and events that take place in the evening so I don’t have a lot of time to spend with her. But she longs for our time and attention. She craves it. She needs it.
As a born-again Christian, I believe that God made us social creatures for a reason. He made us to need other people. Giving us young lives to help mold and shape, God was using His wisdom of our unique creation (He should know, He created us!) and made our little ones with the need of connecting with us.
For my spouse and I, that connection is vital not only for our granddaughter, but also for us. Sharing our lives, our experiences and our knowledge is a big part of what we have to offer this little girl.
All the activities and fun things we do are a backdrop to the things that she learns through these experiences. And if we don’t spend time with her—I fear she will not learn those important lessons. Plus, it hurts her precious little heart when she thinks we don’t care enough about her to play with her!
Making time to do the things they want to do
We had fun checking out the telescope yesterday, but that was something I wanted to do. Honestly, I don’t like playing with dolls. But my granddaughter does. So I need to do that with her even if I don’t like it.
Don’t get me wrong, she enjoyed playing with the telescope, too, but she really wants me to play with her and her dolls in the fantasy world that she creates with moats and castles and princesses! I may not like it, but I love helping her imagination grow. I may have to “pretend” to like playing with dolls to make her happy. Sometimes we have to do some things that aren’t pleasant to us, but it can be so worth it when you see that smile light up their face!
When I think about the time I spent with my family growing up, I recall that the times spent playing with the adults in my life was one of the most important things to me. Having my mom play Atari with us or my dad play baseball—those things will be with me all of my life. Those are things I can share with my granddaughter.
Raising Grandkids who are Awesome
My grandchildren are awesome. Having the responsibility for raising one of them is an incredible gift that I cannot take for granted. If you are a grandparent who is raising a grandchild, it may be hard at times to see this as a “gift”, but more like a burden.
Because there are so many of us grandparents raising our grandkids there are more and more resources available to use to help make those little people’s lives better. I will be highlighting some resources in posts coming soon.
In the meantime, just know that your love, your discipline, your patience and your wisdom are the things that will mean a world of difference for these kids!
Tying it all Together
We may not always be able to say “yes” just like we are not always able to say “no,” but if we use wisdom, we will know when it is the right time to say each of those words to our little ones.
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About the author
Karin Nauber, “G.G.”, is a professional writer who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 27 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. G.G. has five grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. She began this website with the hope of helping other grandparents who may be struggling with their role as parent/grandparents. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org.