Lifespan developmentalists generally agree that middle adulthood spans the ages of 40-65 years, and late adulthood goes from age 65 until death. Since the average age of a first time grandparent in the U.S. is 47, this means many of us will be grandparents for half of our adult lives, both as middle-agers and senior citizens. Do you find that a cheery thought?
Many adults are looking forward to and planning for their retirement. This idea has been increasingly stressed in recent years as lifespans and the costs associated with the second half of life increase. With cultural unrest, serious worldwide health problems, and economic instabilities all on the rise, it may be difficult to maintain a positive outlook. Might we be deemed “Pollyanna-ish” (i.e., pretending all is sweetness and light regardless of circumstances) or even ignorant and uninformed about reality if we exude a cheerful demeanor in the midst of stressful, painful situations?
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV
Let’s look at God’s perspective: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV). Even in the midst of the pandemonium of 2020? Yes! We can thank God no matter what happens because He is the sovereign King who has not lost His dominion, His power, or His loving care for each of us. Our cheerful trust expressed in gratitude to Jesus is the mark of those who belong to Him.
What is the source of this joyfulness? Psalm 90:14 answers that: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” (NIV). The joy, cheer, and contentment which is the core of our influence as grandparents will emerge out of our own relationship with Jesus. The impact of our own personal faith life – revealed in such daily activities as early morning devotional times, a happy spirit that expresses joy in songs, and a sweet demeanor in the face of physical challenges of aging, will leave a permanent imprint on our grandchildren’s lives.
If this cheerfulness challenge seems too difficult in these trying times, remember that this is a lifelong assignment and effort. Most importantly, we are not alone; what God calls us to do, He will help us to do. Now isn’t that a happy thought to hold onto?