I am somewhat enamored with the Amish culture, and one of the things that I love so much about it is that they have tight family relationships across the generations. The grandparents often live in a little house behind the main family house and many meals are eaten together and the families do things together. The children have very close relationships with not only their parents, but also with grandparents and great-grandparents. They benefit from the wisdom and experience that the older generation can share, and the mothers and fathers have support and help in raising their children (and no paid childcare needed for an occasional night out!). When the older generation gets older and aren’t able to care for themselves anymore, the family takes care of them (no assisted living or nursing home needed!). I can’t help but think that this is the way God designed families to be.
Proverbs 17:6 – Children’s children are the crown of old men….
In our personal situation, my parents live 6 hours away and hubby’s parents live 6 hours in the other direction. And although my children adore their grandparents, their relationship is definitely not as close as it would be if they lived in our backyard.
My grandma is also 6 hours away and lives alone as a widow, riding the bus to the store (she can’t see to drive anymore), and eating TV dinners because she can’t see well enough to cook. She often comments on how lonely she is. And although we’ve asked her to come live with us, she says she wants her independence.
She flew down to see us for the week and my children loved spending time with her. Although she can’t see well enough to read them books anymore, and can’t hear well at all, they just loved sitting with her and cuddling up, reading books to her, and coloring pictures with her. They love their “Gigi”. And it was SO helpful having her here to hold the baby when I needed to get something done, and occupy the toddler when I was feeding the baby.
And sadly, my grandma feels like she would be a burden if she lived with us. But she actually would be a huge help for now (and we’ve told her that!). And we could definitely cure her loneliness issue! And she would have no more TV dinners alone, but a home-cooked meal around a big family table. And when the day comes when she would need ongoing care from us, it would teach my children important life lessons of mercy and compassion and servant hood, and Gigi would feel loved and cared for in her last days.
Psalm 68:6 – God setteth the solitary in families….
Is this not the way God wants families to live? With the older generation helping raise the younger generation, and then the younger generation caring for the older generation when the time comes?
Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and therby fulfill the law of Christ.