6 Secrets Grandparents Never Tell

MYTH: Grandparenting has all the joys of parenting without any of the responsibilities. 

This is only partially true. In some ways, being a grandparent is even harder than being a parent. I didn’t discover this, however, until I became a grandparent and learned the six secrets grandparents never tell. I’ll share them with you, if you promise to keep them to yourself: 

1. Grandparenting is HARD. Grandparents have a deep-seated fear that our grandchildren will get hurt on our watch. So we follow them everywhere, call out warnings, and rise in the middle of the night to check their breathing. We caution against minimally dangerous behavior, cut grapes into fourths, and renew our infant and child CPR certification. We’d never forgive ourselves if something happened to our precious grandchildren, so if we seem like nervous Nellies, it’s because we are. 

2. Grandparenting gives us an excuse to be silly. Even the most dignified grandparent casts off restraint in the presence of his grandchildren. We’re finally old enough to be comfortable in our own skins. The cool factor is long gone, so it doesn’t matter what someone else is thinking. All we care about is making our grandchildren smile. Silly songs, horsey rides, and bedtime stories complete with different voices for every character. Snowmen pancakes, elaborate games of pretend, and tea parties with water from questionable sources. The more they laugh, the happier we are. 

3. Grandparenting gives us more to worry about. The possibilities for harm to our precious grandchildren are endless—just watch 20/20. Kidnapping, SIDS, choking, drowning, car accidents, playground falls, accidental poisoning, terrorism, bullying. Because their parents are with them most of the time, they know they’re safe. Not so with us. There’s a whole lot of blank space between one Face Time visit and the next, and much fuel for the imagination. And so we worry. 

4. Grandparenting also gives us more to pray about. Not only do we carry the burden of prayer for our adult children, we also extend it to our grandchildren. We pray for their safety, their health, and their protection. We pray for success in school, good friends, and obedient dispositions. We pray for their development, their growth, and their salvation. More than anything else, we pray they will love Jesus, for to do otherwise would break our hearts. We know the pull of the world is stronger than ever, so we do battle for them daily on our knees. 

 5. Grandparenting makes us eat our words. We realize we don’t really want our grandchildren to hurt their parents like their parents hurt us. From the toddler screaming I hate you to the adolescent telling you you're the worst parent ever, we don’t want our children to know how it feels someday. We don’t. We really don’t.

6. Grandparenting brings us more joy than almost anything on earth. When the door flies open and our grandchildren race through the house calling our names, the sun shines more brightly. When the busy toddlers crawl into our laps and allow us to rock them to sleep, our hearts swell. And when we witness their first prayers, baptisms, and steps of faith, our eyes leak grateful tears.

The greatest secret of all isn’t really a secret—we love our grandchildren more than we love ourselves. In this way, perhaps grandparenting Is a lot like parenting. Secrets notwithstanding, it’s worth it all. 

 “Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children” (Prov. 17:6)

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