By Linda Gilden, Crosswalk.com
Communication is an important part of every relationship. Our words and actions speak volumes to those around us. Our relationships with our adult children and grandchildren are no different.
We often exchange pleasantries. But it is the heartfelt words and actions that touch us in the deepest places.
What are some of the things grandparents need to hear on a regular basis? Let's explore.
From their adult children:
1. “I appreciate you.”
This could come from a lot of places.
Your children realize just how hard it is to parent young children. They may realize that a lot of their parenting knowledge came from watching you!
Has one of your adult children ever come to you with a cute story about something that happened between one of the grandchildren and a parent? They were happy with the way the story turned out and as they finished the story, your son or daughter looked up at you and said, “Mom, I sounded just like you!”
We never know when the instruction we give our children when they are young may come back through them as instruction for their own children.
The children may discover that yes, God gave children two parents but it often takes more than those two to get the job done.
If you are an adult child, make sure your parents know that their efforts and person are appreciated.
2. “Thank you for your help.”
In these days when both parents are often working, time with the children is limited or cut short of what you would like. Grandparents who can step up to the plate and fill the gaps are a tremendous blessing.
Carpooling, attending sports events, and helping with homework are often on the grandparent’s daily list. And although they do these things joyfully, it is still essential for adult children thank their parents for all they continue to do.
3. “You are important to us.”
Grandparents help in so many ways but often the most helpful is just being there.
One of the ways you can most make the grandparents feel cherished is to invite them to join in to your family activities. They may not be as active as they used to be and their stamina may be waning, but the joy they experience from just being in the room with their extended families is real.
They want to hear about how your day went, the cute things your children say, and how they can make your life easier than theirs was. So make them feel included and important in your lives every day.
4. “I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Be careful not to overstep, but sometimes we have the opportunity to show up at just the right time for our adult kids.
For instnace, our may children want to entertain and share their lives with friends but often they just don’t have enough time to prepare. When you know your children are entertaining, why not drop by to help with the preparation, then drop out before the company arrives.
You will allow your children the joy of building relationships while they relax in their own homes.
If your an adult child, include your parents in on your life when appropriate. Giving them the chance to help you out in a big way, and to be recognized for it, is a gift to them.
5. “Can I come over and help you with your electronics?”
Many grandparents grew up plowing the fields behind the family horse or walking to school because the only car was used to take the parents to work. If they had television it was black and white.
Now they need to know how to work their cell phones, set timers for lights to go on and off, and go to church on their iPads or computers.
Sometimes they need a little help from the children or grandchildren to figure their new devices out. Don’t wait until they ask, when your elderly dad says, “Hey, I got a new phone today,” quickly offer to spend some time helping him learn to understand all the things it can do for him.
From their grandchildren:
6. “Can I come to your house?”
Grandparents love for grandchildren to request to come over. That shows them that they really want to spend time with their grandparents at their suggestion, not because their parents need a babysitter.
At our house when the grandchildren call, I know that I need to get out the cards and get ready for a tournament of some kind. Usually it is Spit (a card game, not a spitting contest!), Crazy-Eights, or War.
As the grandchildren have gotten older, we have changed or added a new game. When the grandchildren come over, all activities focus on them. If I have writing to do, I encourage them to write a story while I take a work break from our games.
The most important thing to remember is that your home must be a place of peace and calm for your grandchildren. Then they will want to come.
Don't be afraid to invite yourself over! Grandparents love it.
7. “Will you help me do this?”
Recently our 10-year-old grandson asked my husband to help him collect sticks to make a fort. Our grandson, Jeff, had received a pocket knife for Christmas and he wanted to use it to whittle some sticks and then bind them together for a fort.
My husband spent the better part of two days riding through our woods and locating sticks that would be suitable for a fort. He left them where he saw them so that when he and Jeff went on their search, Jeff would think he found them all.
Once he got a load of poles for the project, Jeff was happy to have not only drawn the plan for the project, but also finding his materials, and executing his project.
Grandparents love to be included and to be of use. Find out something meaningful that the two of you can do together.
8. “Tell me a story.”
Grandchildren love for you to tell them family stories, especially those of their parents when they were young, and grandparents love telling them! Stories give grandchildren a foundation on which to grow closer as a family.
Funny stories are especially welcome such as the time I caught my biggest fish ever and it nearly pulled me into the water trying to make its escape. Of course, stories are great places for embellishment and adding a few extra details.
When we had a little girl from India live with us for a year her favorite bedtime story was how we came to the decision to invite her to be part of our family for that year. It really was one of those “God moments” and a clear demonstration of God’s provision to our family.
That year produced many wonderful stories that we still tell today.
From both the adult children and the grandchildren:
9. “I love you.”
No matter what our ages, we love to hear that someone genuinely loves us and cares for us.
Knowing that even as we age, we are part of a family that loves us is an encouragement and affirmation to grandparents. Just knowing that our families love us gives us reason to get up every morning.
These three words are three of the most important words grandparents need to hear.
10. “Pray for me.”
One of the greatest privileges of being a grandparent is the opportunity to pray for our families. Make sure your family knows that when they ask you to pray for them, you will do it.
Remember to follow up so they know you haven’t forgotten and that you will continue to pray.
For example, a grandchild may ask you to pray for them because they have a big test on Tuesday. When you see them or talk to them on Wednesday, ask how it went.
Or if a grandchild tells you about a friend at school who has trouble making friends, use that situation as a teachable then promise to pray for that friend.
Words are powerful and can make a tremendous difference. Don’t miss an opportunity to speak words of encouragement and affirmation to your grandparents.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/perfectla
Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, certified writing and speaking coach, and personality consultant. Her passion is helping others discover the joy of writing and learn to use their writing to make a difference. Linda recently released Articles, Articles, Articles! and is the author of over a thousand magazine articles and 19 books including the new Quick Guides for Personalities. She loves every opportunity to share her testimony, especially through her writing. Linda’s favorite activity (other than eating folded potato chips) is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing grandchildren—a great source of writing material!