Your Family Matters with PASTOR CHANDA
I HAVE spent the last few days in the home of a couple that are now grandparents. We had wonderful discussions about how they are finding grandparenting compared to the days when they were raising their own kids.
They just love it.
They said the first source of joy was in terms of the way they were now addressed.
The man said he used to be called ‘Shi Mwape’ but now he is called ‘Shikulu Mwamba’. He was elated at this new title.
Even society recognised that he was now a grandfather.
Shikulu Mwamba remembered a time when he was simply called ‘Bwalya’. Then when he married, his title changed to ‘Muka Mirriam’.
That felt great.
Then baby arrived a year later and he became ‘Shi Mwape’. That took thirty years to change to the new title.
It was not only the friends and relatives that changed the title; it was the grandchildren as well. “Shikulu!” they shout when needing his attention.
His wife also got her share of “Mama!” all over the house. They said hearing that from young voices was glorious.
Nakulu Mwamba said part of her joy was that she no longer had to wash napkins. One reason is that we now live in an age of disposable nappies, compared to those days when they were raising their kids. Every dirty napkin needed to be hand washed in those days.
They also said when they pick up their grandchildren, the parents pack enough napkins for the day. So, all they do is change the napkins and leave the rest to the parents to handle when they come to pick up the kids.
This, they said, was a little heaven on earth.
They also said they loved the role of grandparents because you can handle it at your own pace. If you only want kids for one day in the week, you can have them for only one day in the week. Parents of children do not have that luxury. Theirs is 24/7.
So, yes, the little children can be exhausting for a retiree. Their energy keeps them running around and leaving a mess in their wake. But the good news is that a grandparent can go to bed exhausted at night knowing that this will not repeat itself tomorrow.
Grandparenting is also great because when the children fall ill or become irritable, you do not have to be with them all the time. You can hand them back to their parents until they get well or get over their tantrums. So, you get the better part of child upbringing.
Nakulu Mwamba said the only downside to grandparenting was that parents do not always agree with grandparents on how to keep the kids happy. Grandparents want to spoil the children but parents want to keep them disciplined and very well behaved.
When grandchildren want something, grandparents are likely to immediately give them while parents love the word “No”. That is one reason why children prefer to be with their grandparents. They get away with almost anything. Parents feel that this is wrong.
So, grandparents are playmates with their grandchildren while parents are policemen and policewomen with their children. Grandparents are always in a good mood – or so the children think. Parents, on the other hand, are sometimes grumpy – perhaps a little too often.
Shikulu Mwamba also told me that one difference between him and his wife is that Banakulu Mwamba is fond of giving unsolicited advice on parenting to Mwamba’s parents. He thinks it is wrong and it often exasperates the younger parents.
I think he is right.
Finally, grandparents do not need to have to buy children’s toys. Their parents can bring the favourite toys of children when dropping them off. So, as grandparents, you only have to think about annual birthday and Christmas gifts. And there are no school fees any more.
In the Bible, it is said of Abdon that: “He had 40 sons and 30 grandsons, who rode on 70 donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years” (Judges 12:14). Abdon had many wives who bore him the 40 sons. He must have had a grand time being a grandfather!
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