In Church tradition, children are called both the “crown” and the “cross “of their parents. Grandparents also experience the challenges, as many of them are raising their grandchildren or are very involved in helping their adult children raise a family. If they are willing to practice their faith actively, parents and grandparents will find in Catholic tradition a staunch ally for their task. The Church has defended the value of children for marriage. The gravity of the role and responsibilities of raising children contributes to the stresses that couples experience when children enter their lives, but we can take heart that the teaching Church values what we are doing.
Catholic and Grandparenting: 5 Challenges and 5 Opportunities, by Dr. Lauri Przybysz, now available from ACTA Publications and on Amazon.
Being a parent or grandparent can be exhausting, but we can choose how we will respond to the challenge. In the parenting years, parents will find that patience and time together are rare commodities. Although the additional demands of parenting – and of helping parents -- can draw a couple closer together in their joint project, this seldom happens automatically. It will help if we can talk things out more often, reexamine the way we use our time and money, clarify our real priorities as a family, change what doesn’t work. Raising the next generation requires parents and grandparents to adjust expectations about their sleep patterns and their adult or couple-centered endeavors, but the mission can mature our adult relationships, with our spouses and with our own parents and in-laws, over the years when we commit to do it in the context of a life of faith.
Shared faith invites the parents and grandparents to participate in a project that is bigger than each of them. In the process, they experience the Paschal Mystery, dying to their old selves and rising to a new life. They learn in their vocation as parents and grandparents that suffering leads to glory. If they maintain their relationship with God, a couple’s marriage commitment can be strengthened in the crucible of parenting experience, survive as a couple and succeed as a Christian family.