How to Spoil a Grandchild

It comes naturally. Precious little ones look at their grandparents with those doe eyes and anything they want is theirs! We joke that, as grandparents, it is our right to spoil our grandchildren. Our children should just expect it. After all, they were spoiled by our parents. It’s our turn. But instead of spoiling them with candy and toys, I suggest we spoil them with time.

My kids had grandparents who did the same thing. Sure, they had candy on hand, but they also had special things to do, games that were only played there, but mostly, they were spending time together. I knew that whenever we asked the grandparents if they could have the kids for the day or overnight, they immediately made sure all of the kids’ favorite things were in the house and their favorite games ready. My kids have vivid memories of camping trips, wiffleball, and endless games of Hang on Harvey.

The specialness of the time spent with their grandparents was never as obvious as to me as the day my three-year-old took off for Grandmom’s house—on his own. I didn’t have time to read to him, so his three-year-old brilliant brain knew who did have time: Grandmom. He packed his books in a backpack and left. I was busy making a special dinner for overseas guests and didn’t notice that he was missing until I got a call from the Wells Fargo a few blocks away. The gentleman said, “Do you have a son named Nate?” My first thought was that Nate won a $100 CD or something. But no. After I confirmed I did have a son named Nate, the man said, “Well, he’s down here in front of our building trying to cross Broad Street.”

“What! Keep him there. I’ll be right over.” I arrived outside Wells Fargo just after the police. Nate had invoked his right to remain silent. I explained to the officer that I thought he was with his older brothers. They each thought their baby brother was with the other one. We were let go with a warning to pay more attention to his whereabouts. Whew! That day I looked forward to the time of life that I could drop whatever I was doing to read to my grandchildren. That day is here!

It is my great joy to spend time with my grandchildren. Yes, they know when they come to our house there will be candy and chocolate milk. But they also know that they will read books, bake with Mom-mom, and tackle Pop-pop. It’s a great season of life—when we can spoil our grandchildren with the gift of time.

“For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV)

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