Grandparents Day is September 13 and I can hardly wait. We have four of the cutest and smartest grandbabies, and with an official great-grand, I’m feeling pretty special. What I still can’t wrap my mind around is how fast they grew–Morgan, our youngest, is on the eve of her 13th birthday, Maya is almost 14, Terrell is 24, and Kierra is 29. Avery, our only great-grand, is already 4.

Where did the time go? I suppose we can ask the same thing about our own years—just a few days ago I was 25, full of salt and vinegar (or whatever you’re full of at that age), and now I’m preparing to sign up for Medicare. A few years ago people my age seemed ancient, and now 64 is the new 44. Who could’ve imagined we’d ever get here, much less be somebody’s GG?

Somebody should have told us how much fun the next generations would be when we were trying to explain to our smart-mouthed teenagers why they had curfews or why this girl or boyfriend was all wrong. My favorite teacup says grandchildren are the reward for not killing your children. It’s true because I can think of instances when had cooler heads not prevailed, my children probably wouldn’t have lived to experience parenthood.

I giggle now when Angela and Marcos regale us with the antics of their children because I usually have identical ones to share.  I recall saying “I hope you have four children just like you,” and figured that would be punishment enough to put them on the right path. I got my wish.

I love watching grandparents in action and you can always tell which generation is providing the answers. When children ask a million questions, all followed by “Why?” grandparents think they’re supposed to provide meaning, context, and color commentary. They believe it is their job to explain, expound, and teach because they have time and patience they didn’t have when they were trying to put food on the table, get to a million ball practices, work, and juggle “life.”

By the time we become grandparents we understand there’s more to life than the speed of it. We clearly understand what and who matters and becoming a grandparent offers an opportunity to practice what we’ve finally learned.

One of my favorite grandparent stories came during a trip to a Florida church. During the children’s sermon the youth pastor broke the cardinal rule for working with children—never ask questions and pass the microphone. He got halfway through and asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Benji raised his hand, seized the mike, and spoke proudly. “I want to be a granddaddy.” The sermon ended there but what a wonderful testament to Benji’s Papaw.

Grandchildren are a precious gift and they deserve to be cherished and adored. If you don’t have any of your own, whether yet or never, remedy that today. Children everywhere are hungry, neglected, abused, being tossed about from pillow to post, and they need the unconditional love and adoration grandparents are known for and can offer.

Become a mentor—yes, during the pandemic—better yet, especially now, and lavish some time and love on these tiny humans.

Remember to pray for grandparents who’ve taken on full-time care and parenting of children who have challenges most of us haven’t seen before. These brave parents are navigating rough waters so our support, compassion, and understanding are critical. It really does take a village to love and spoil grandchildren—let’s get busy!

What are your experiences of grandparents and grandchildren? I would love to hear from you at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

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