In Praise of Grandmothers

By Rob Furlong
Given it is the month of May and Mother’s Day is fast approaching, I think it a good idea to take a break from our series on being more present with people and focus on celebrating the women in our life!
Generally, I like to use Mother’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate all women, but this year I want to especially celebrate grandmothers through the following story from James Dobson, written by a third grader:
A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own. She likes other people’s little girls and boys. A grandfather is a man grandmother. He goes for walks with boys, and they talk about fishing and stuff like that.

Grandmothers don’t have to do anything except be there. They’re old so they shouldn’t play hard or run. It is enough if they drive us to the market where the pretend horse is and have lots of coins ready. Or if they take us for walks, they should slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.
They should never say, “Hurry up.”
Usually grandmothers are fat, but not too fat to tie your shoes. They wear glasses and funny underwear. They can take their teeth and gums out.
Grandmothers don’t have to be smart, only answer questions like, “Why isn’t God married?” and “How come dogs chase cats?”
Grandmothers don’t talk baby talk like visitors do, because it is hard to understand. When they read to us, they don’t skip or mind if it is the same story over again.
Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don’t have television, because they are the only grown-ups who have time.
Despite me saying at the beginning of this column I would not talk about being present in relationships, you cannot escape the fact that the description above highlights an important fact about grandmothers – they are present with their grandchildren!
“They don’t talk baby talk like visitors do.” In other words, they respect kids and do not treat them as if they are stupid or don’t know anything. An old saying says, “You can con a con, but you cannot kid a kid!” We can all take a leaf out of our grandmother’s playbook by applying this simple principle to all our relationships – treat people with respect!
“They don’t skip or mind if it is the same story over again.” This highlights the virtue of patience. No matter how many times she has heard the story, Grandma will always take the time to listen. There can be times in relationships where you find your patience wearing thin or you feel you have something more important to do than listen to the same problem again. But for many people, the sheer fact someone takes time to listen to them gives them the sense of being loved. Patience is an incredible gift in all relationships.
“They are the only grown ups who have time.” How can such an observation be so wonderful, yet so sad, at the same time? We all know it to be true, however. From this child’s perspective, Grandma is the only adult who has time for them. Sadly, it is also true for us as adults. How rare it is to find someone who will take the time to be with us, listen to us and encourage us along the way. No doubt this is why Solomon said, “Two people are better off than one. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.”
We can learn a lot from grandmothers! Respect. Patience. Time.
Every relationship will blossom and grow when these gifts are present.
To reflect on this Mother Day: What relational gifts did you receive from your grandmother?
Take the time to thank God for them, and her, this Mother’s Day. 

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