Do you really want my advice?
Or do I need to stay hands off and be quiet?
Listening to the Young Moms
I’m sitting in the rocking chair in my living room, holding my newest grandbaby as he sleeps. I’m listening to the young moms in the room. They’re sharing their experiences of parenting in front of their parents.
And how difficult it can be.
I lean in closer. I want to hear them clearly.
This is what they say: As young parents, they want encouragement from us, their parents.
They want our support. They want our presence. They want our love.
And they even want our advice, when needed.
But they don’t want our judgment.
That’s where it gets tricky with us older parents and now grandparents. Our advice isn’t as needed as often as we think.
And especially not when it flows out of judgment.
Sure, we do know some hacks and tricks. We have solid advice to give. We have years of wisdom built in.
Yet part of our wisdom requires our exercise of discernment, knowing what to share and what not to share, when to step in and when to back off.
I’m still on the learning curve. It’s hard to stay hands-off (or more importantly, mouth-closed) when I want to step in and make things easier for my kids with their kids.
But as I hear one of the young mothers saying now:
“You all had your turn. Now it’s our turn.”
Our Turn for Discretion
And she’s right. We’ve been in their shoes, but they no longer fit us.
We usually know it deep down. It’s just hard to put it into practice on the surface.
We can learn to do it though. It just takes practice. Not just in parenting relationships, but in ANY relationship.
And as we practice keeping our advice to ourselves unless asked, we’ll mess up. We’ll often say the wrong thing at the wrong time. We’ll sometimes interfere when we should have butted out.
Even though our wrinkles suggest otherwise, we’re still new to the game ourselves. We still are growing. We still are being transformed into the image of Christ at a slower pace than we (and our kids) might prefer.
But as in the past, so also in the future:
God gives enough grace to go around.
There’s hands-on grace for the grandkids when they make mistakes. There’s hands-on grace for the parents when they make mistakes.
And there’s hands-on grace for us older generation when we make mistakes, too.
None of us are immune from the human condition of falls and failures. But neither are any of beyond the reach of God’s hands of relentless and unfailing love. From him to us. And from us to each other.
Let Love wipe away a lot of offenses (1 Peter 4:8).
Featured Post—On Trust
And in His kind way, God whispered, “I will speak truth into the mess.” and “I love them even more than you do.” and “I can handle it.” I confess that this initially caused me additional anxiety. But if I’m honest, I also felt relief. I can’t know. I can’t do. I can only pray and be.
I thank God that I don’t have to know how to fix every relationship problem. And that sometimes I don’t even need to do anything. Except step back and let God work.
“I can only pray and be.”
Read all of Lauren’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.
How hard is it for you to stay hands-off and be quiet? Share your thoughts in the comments.
- Doing Life with Your Adult Children
- How to Be a Long-Distance Grandparent
- 5 Reasons to Love Being a Grandparent
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