Starbucks Grandparent

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Starbucks Grandparent

There was a time when grandparents looked like their houses often smelled: old, musty, out of date, and out of touch. Some still do. Most don’t. You may not have heard the rumor going around, but the word on the street is that 60 is the new 40! And it’s not just a physical thing we’re talking about. Grandparents not only look younger, they often act younger and think younger than the grandparents who came alongside them when they were children. It’s not out of the question to see a grandmother stop by Starbucks on her way home from the gym. She orders a Frappuccino (“nonfat milk, please”), pulls out her BlackBerry to check her email, and then text messages a business contact in Australia followed by another to her son at a university three states away. She may have five or six decades of living in her rearview mirror, but she is as contemporary as the New York Times sitting on the rack in the corner of the coffee shop. A generation before, this woman’s husband was more likely to have worn a blue collar to work than a white one. He would have been a tradesman or a man who worked with the land. His commute home from work was seldom more than a few miles… And there was a day on the calendar when he knew he would be able to walk away from his work for good and live on his Social Security. Not any more. Most likely, the man married to this Starbucks grandmother has a college education, a passport with several stamps in it, and more money in his retirement accounts than his grandparents made in their entire life. The one thing today’s grandparents have in common with their predecessors in past generations is that they carry in their hearts an innate and overwhelming love for their grandchildren. We call it a “Grand Love.” We’re convinced it’s a God thing. But that is about as far as the comparison to our predecessors goes. Today’s grandparents have to process far more complex dynamics with the children whose photographs cover the doors of their refrigerators. For starters, grandchildren are more likely to be scattered all over the map of the Northern Hemisphere with multiple time zones separating them from their grandparents. This makes it far more difficult to enjoy the hands-on influence for which grand parenthood is known. Because of the impact of divorce that haunts this new crop of grandparents, it’s not uncommon that a breakup has occurred—either in the grandparent’s marriage or in the marriage of one of their children. Besides the stress this puts on the kids and the “yours, mine, and ours” pressure this puts on the parents, grandparents are having to figure out where they fit in to the lives of the kids within these blended families that often grow on one or more limbs of their family trees. Today’s grandchildren process enormous challenges to their concept of personal identity, their sense of confidence, their view of success, and their ability to figure out where they fit in the bigger world that surrounds them. All this simply means that grandparents can’t assume they can ever come close to carrying out their God-given responsibilities if they are only giving accidental attention to their job. On the contrary, if grandparents want to make a positive difference in their grandchildren’s lives, they must have a plan. We’ve got one for you. We didn’t make it up. God did. As always, the God who dreamed up intergenerational societies based on healthy families left a schematic in His Word for how to be an effective grandparent…. And when we carry out these roles, we get a chance to not only help our grandchildren live far more fulfilling lives, but also increase their chances of making a significant impact on eternity. Grandparenthood is not just another phase of your life; it’s a sacred calling. You’ll have the opportunity to influence another generation of children; you’ll play an eternal role in their lives. It’s not often that we get such a significant second chance. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer listening to your music on a cassette or an ipod, whether you drop your checks in the mail or pay your bills online, whether you’ve been around the world or barely cleared the county line, you can play a profound and contemporary role as a grandparent. And you can have a blast in the process, having more fun than you ever did as a parent. Having the bigger picture in your mind and eternity in your hearts turns inconvenience into opportunity, sacrifice into significance, and more of your time and energy into profound ministry in your grandchildren’s lives. Knowing your clearly defined roles keeps the end product in mind. Just like with parenting, the days may seem long, but the years are even shorter. That’s why we must not only step up to the opportunity before us, but do so in a way that has the most lasting impact for good.

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