1. Falling Into Favoritism
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There is a multitude of reasons why a grandparent may find himself or herself giving way to favoritism within the family system. They may have already set up the standard of favoring one child over another, and now continue with this toxic mentality by preferring one grandchild over another. It could be the first-born grandchild, the one that lives nearby, or perhaps a granddaughter or grandson that more closely resembles the grandparent in temperament, personality, or appearance. Perhaps the grandparent is struggling with behaviors from a grandchild that impede the grandchild-grandparent relationship.
It can be easy for a grandparent to put the onus for a good relationship on the parent or the grandchild, and yet to avoid this potential relational misstep, it is essential that as grandparents we lead through exampling Christ by taking responsibility for our own heart attitudes and actions toward others.
We must search our own hearts and allow God to guide us into actively beating back favoritism. We can do this through praying for each and every one of our grandchildren regularly, and by seeing each one as uniquely and beautifully made by God.
2. Avoid Comparisons
The root of favoritism can often be found in what may seem to be an innocent contrast and comparison of your own grandchildren to one another, or to their parents when they were young. You may even be sizing up your grandchildren against your friend's or acquaintances' grandkids. It may seem that you are simply pointing out differences in personality or accomplishments, but if you are not careful this can lead to one child finding themselves as the scapegoat of the family, and another as the favored or golden child.
Comparison can lead to the child believing that they can never hit the mark of whatever expectation or other people they are being measured against. It drives a wedge between the grandparent and the grandchild, as the child may feel devalued and even at times unloved. To the child, achieving the required standard may seem to be an unspoken requirement of receiving love.
Scripture is very clear on the perils of comparison, from the depiction in the book of James on how one can choose to value a poorly dressed person as lesser than a nicely dressed, to the reminders throughout the pages of the New Testament that we are each created by God for distinct purposes and are to be valued equitably.
A mindset of comparison circumvents our ability to see the unique design of each one of our grandchildren. It diminishes our gratitude for God’s amazing differentiation and creativity within the personality and design of mankind. Ultimately, comparison is shortsighted and lacking in redemptive vision, as its judgment assumes it knows the end of the story for the one it weighs up against.
A godly grandparent who desires a strong and lasting relationship with their grandchildren has the distinct opportunity to pray and ask to see these young ones through the eyes of Christ. They can choose with hope and a heart of loving-kindness to practice the tenets of Philippians 4:8, finding in each of their grandchildren the true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy ways that God is working in them day-by-day.
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