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Grandparents Buying Love

Q. We love our grandchildren. But, there is no way we can give them the expensive things their other grandparents are buying for them. We just can't afford it. I've noticed my grandkids snuggle up to the rich grandparents more than to us. What can we do?


Do Nothing but Uphold Your Faith

Do nothing except to show your love. You can't do anything about this problem of competing grandparents buying too many expensive gifts for kids - nor should you. This is a common situation and we see lots of extremely spoiled kids coming from these situations. Grandparents should be upholding their faith and praying Psalm 71:18:

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come (ESV).

Your job is to share your faith with your grandchildren - not to smother them with the world's stuff. Too much of anything is not good. Besides, you might be surprised - taking your grandkids for an ice-cream cone makes a terrific memory. You don't need a fortune to do that.

In the End What Counts?

Also, think back to your own grandparents. In the end did it matter to you that one set of grandparents spent more on you than the other? For example, one of my grandparents took me on lavish trips around the world. I loved her. But, I didn't feel as close to her as to my other Grandma - who died when I was 16. My poor Grandma really loved me and I knew it, especially as I grew older.

Children Do Need Discipline

Nothing good comes from spoiling grandchildren with expensive toys. It isn't "love" to buy off your grandkids. The Bible has lots of warnings about how to raise children.

Proverbs 13:24 notes that, He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Proverbs 29:15 says, The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.

Proverbs 19:20 advises, Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 19:18 warns, Discipline your son, for in that there is hope. Do not be a willing party to his death (NIV).

Handling Competition Over Materialism

When we feel that we are in competition with other grandparents it is wise to remember Paul's advice:

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct (Galatians 6:4-5, NLT).

God has made us each uniquely responsible to do the best job we can while we are alive. Among other things it means setting a good example for our children and grandchildren. In the end it is the Lord to whom we will account for our deeds (2 Cor. 5:10), for our words (Matthew 12:36) and even for our thoughts (Romans 2:15-16).

Setting Examples

Furthermore, we are each uniquely gifted by God to work for His glory. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." What if one of these "works" is to set an example of good character rather than expensive toys for our grandkids?

In a day of rising bankruptcies, foreclosures, and jobs transferred overseas, maybe our job is to teach our grandkids to "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'" (Hebrews 13:5, ESV).

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