Did your vote really count? I’m not talking politics here, but about your decision-making ability over the raising of your grandchildren. Do the parents really care about your platform for the children they brought into the world?
We live in a time of catchphrases, and one of the most popular (aside from the cutting-edge fiscal cliff) is empowerment. How much power does your vote carry in making choices for your grandchildren? You may be fiscally responsible for them (paying all their expenses) and physically responsible for them (giving them a home), but when it comes to real decision-making moves, who counts on your vote? Do you decide which school they will attend? How close to home (yours) it should be? Can you freely raise them in your faith or are you accused of brainwashing them into beliefs not shared by the parents? If you are dealing with teenagers, whose curfews count?
In politics we’re told that our vote is the best way to make our voices heard. Not so in grandparenting. You are in a rare and treasured position if the parents are always in agreement with you. Sometimes it seems like the only decisions you make are the ones they do not want to. The rest of us live in a world where votes are cast around us and in spite of us.
But there’s another way our voices can be heard, and that is through our grandchildren. Let our voices never be raised against their parents—unless their lives are at risk. Let our voices nurture when they need understanding and guidance—even if those paths are not followed (did our own children follow the path we designed for them?). Let our voices shout out with love and encouragement. Let them be silent when we lift them up in prayer. Let unconditional love be their vote of confidence from you. That is the loudest message you can deliver.