As a new parent, you are frantic and apprehensive that you’re not doing enough for your children. When they begin to grow older and move out of the house, you finally are able to see the fruits of your labor and marvel in the ways they have learned and grown into beautiful, mature adults. However, there is nothing more rewarding than holding your first grandbaby and being brought back to the moment when you held your little one, marveling in the mystery of how fast the years went by and that now your child is a parent themself. Just as you were afraid and unsure all those years ago, your children are now embarking on a similar adventure. They are raising little ones of their own, and they turn to your love and example as a starting point for their own parenting. You are needed, only this time in a different way than when they were children.
In 2015, Pope Francis spoke at the Festival of Families in Philadelphia and shared,“Grandparents are the living memory of the family. They pass on the faith; they transmitted the faith to us.” The beauty of our faith is that we have been given examples to follow and saints whom we can turn to for wisdom and intercession. On July 26, we celebrate the feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Virgin Mary and the maternal grandparents of Jesus. While there isn't much information about these saints, we do know that they were an elderly couple who had no children, until one day an angel appeared to Joachim announcing the birth of a child, and Anne had the same vision. When their baby girl was born, they named her Mary, which means “loved by God.” They then moved to Nazareth and taught her the law of the Lord. While their story is short and simple, it echoes the words of Pope Francis. As grandparents, we are called to pass on the faith, just as St. Anne and St. Joachim passed it on to Mary, preparing her for the moment she would conceive our Lord. Our time teaching and nurturing our children while they were young does not end once they have their own children. Our work continues, and while it certainly looks different, it holds the same foundational role of encouragement and love. As your kids grow up, it requires faith to trust that they will make good choices for themselves and hold onto the faith that you shared with them. As a grandparent, your role extends beyond your children; you now have the responsibility of being an example and teacher to little ones once more. Unfortunately this isn’t always as easy and joyful as we imagined. Some of our children may no longer practice the faith, and others may be too far away to feel like there’s a need for you. Regardless of your circumstance, rest in knowing that your role as a grandparent is important. Knowing that each family's circumstance is different, I wanted to share some advice that will hopefully encourage you in your role.
You are not a failure and there is still hope for your children and grandchildren. Do not give up; rather, continue to love and encourage your children in the faith. If they aren’t open to talking about it, strive to bring reminders of the faith’s richness into their homes through beautiful imagery. Our mission at House of Royals is to surround you and the ones you love in grace, and we do so by providing you with beautiful home decor, accessories, and sacramentals that are subtle reminders of God’s love and your royalty as his children. Our Lux Sancta Raw Alabaster Prayer Candle is a great gift for your children to place in their home, acting as a subtle reminder to them and their children of your prayers for them.
Although you were with your children every step as they grew, now is the time to trust that what you did in raising them was enough and pray that the Holy Spirit guides your children as they parent their own. If you’re not physically able to attend mass with your grandchildren and teach them the faith firsthand, you can show them how important the faith is by investing in pieces that will serve as reminders for them while you are away. For little boys, the Play Vestments are a great way for them to learn and experience the beauty of the mass and priesthood. The gift of these vestments opens a conversation and reveals to your grandchild how much you love them and support them in their discernment, even if they don’t recognize it fully until they are older.
When children are young, they are curious and excited to learn. As they grow up, faith-filled conversations become more challenging, and they are tempted by the culture and pressure of their peers. As a grandparent, you have a unique opportunity to pass on the faith to your older grandchildren by being a source of encouragement in their journey. If they grew up in a devout home and have been taught the foundations of the faith, your role may be more involved and you may encourage them by participating in the sacraments together. However, if they grew up in a home where the faith wasn’t always practiced, approach the relationship as you would your children who have fallen away from the Church. Provide them with subtle reminders of the faith and continue to pray for their hearts and conversion. Our Beauty Lies Within You Leather Tote is a stunning gift for your granddaughter headed off to college or beginning a new job. The words “Beauty lies within you” are hand lettered and discreetly engraved in the unlined leather interior, providing her with a constant reminder of her identity as a beloved daughter of God.
If you are a grandparent, know that you are loved and needed in your family and church. Your life bears witness to the workings of the Lord, and He desires to continue to use you and bless your family for years to come. If you are not yet a grandparent, share this with a friend or even a parent. Remind them often that you love them and are grateful for the many blessings they bestow upon your life.
“Lord Jesus … Look with love on grandparents the world over. Protect them! They are a source of enrichment for families, for the church, and for all society. Support them! As they grow older, may they continue to be for their families strong pillars of Gospel faith, guardian of noble domestic ideals, living treasures of sound religious traditions.” // Pope Benedict XVI for the Catholic Grandparents Association
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