“Come into my world!” That is exactly what my Dad did years ago. Easter weekend, 10 years ago, two of our three children were playing in an AJGA event at the Chateu Elan in Georgia, just an hour away from where I grew up. My parents drove over to watch the kids play and spend the weekend. It always made for MORE FUN when “Mimi and Papa” came. Their lack of knowledge of golf would make us all smile because their very innocent questions would be so funny at times. The kids would laugh hysterically. Of course my dad didn’t care one bit. Their friends even grew to love Mimi and Papa as they joined us at many tournaments.
After the round, my Dad would take the kids and attempt to play the par 3 course with them. They would always come back with funny stories of Papa hitting all of their golf balls in the ponds. He would just say, “I was trying to feed the fish!” Actually, he would usually have to buy the kids another dozen balls because he would have lost that many. The great thing is he just loved joining them in “their world”, even if he had never played golf. Trust me, he never played golf or any other sport growing up. All he knew was pretty hard labor in the logging and timber business. There was no time for sports. He grew up in very tough times with 8 brothers and sisters all of whom had to pitch in to eat and live.
Now that my dad is 83 and my mother is ill, they can no longer travel and watch the kids play in person. Boy, we all sure miss those days. Memories are all we have now! I wouldn’t trade those memories and the lesson my parents lived and taught me for anything. Their presence in my kids lives is one of the most valuable “grandparent” lessons I have gleaned from Mimi and Papa for the “BACK 9” of my life, God willing!
They taught me by their actions, Psalm 90:12, “so teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Lesson: They “numbered and valued” their days. Whether or not you are familiar with the sport, instrument, hobby, or special interest of your grandchild, it doesn’t matter. Join them in “their world!” (that is the WISDOM) It may not be your world, but to build a strong relationship and to have a strong voice in your grandchild’s life, it requires interest in what they are interested in. TAKING THE TIME to join them. Meet and get to know their friends, come on THEIR HOME TURF and be involved in their lives where they are, if at all possible. With today’s technology–face time, Skype, and email–there just is not much of an excuse, even if you live very far away.
Mimi and Papa made the time to come. They packed their bags and came into our kids’ world many, many times. They came to numerous birthday parties, sporting events, and school functions. They knew most of their friends by name. My parents lived 2 1/2 hours away and my Dad, just in the last few years, semi-retired (meaning he was working full-time when they would come on the weekends) but they made it a PRIORITY. Today our kids are 24, 21 and 19 and it is the “CLOSE, VERY CLOSE relationship” that I see between them and their grandparents, that I directly relate to the “time investment” that Mimi and Papa made.
My mother, even 6 years ago before she got sick, asked Collins to teach her to text. She realized that in order to communicate with them (which she put a high priority on), she had to adapt and learn to text. It took her hours to learn, but it was worth it to her to be able to stay in close contact with her grandchildren. She didn’t buy into the idea, “I am too old and only young people do that”. She came into their world. She valued talking to them the way they enjoyed communicating so she took the time and exercised the patience to learn something that did not come easy to her. Act of love.
Today I am grateful for this lesson, and even more grateful now that my mom is sick. The relationship that was built is so strong that our children call and care for her on their own. I don’t have to say much to them because the relationship was established years ago by the deposits of time that Mimi and Papa put in by joining them in “their world”. I see Proverbs 17:6, “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged”. Remember, time is something that once it is gone, YOU CAN NEVER GET IT BACK!!!! Lesson: IF and when you are blessed enough to have grandchildren…… Go into their world, make the sacrifice of time and your own personal interest to be interested in them. The rewards are a bountiful harvest.