In today’s culture there is a new kind of family springing up all over our nation. It’s called, “Grandfamily”. This is a new family comprised of grandparents and grandchildren. This family structure is growing rapidly in number all over the US, Europe, and Australia.
Grandparents throughout the generations have stepped up to care for their families when the need arose. But in recent years there has been a new kind of need. When the opioid epidemic slammed the US, a new epidemic followed shortly thereafter: the Grandparent’s epidemic. Nearly 90 % of the grandfamilies today were created due to an addiction and it’s changing the structure of families globally.
These everyday heroes, or grandparents, are having to completely change their lives and visions for their future. They have new roles as parents again. By the time we become grandparents we are getting on in years. We are planning for retirement, planning how we will spend our golden years, how to spend the rest of our days. Largely these visions were for our enjoyment that we’ve earned. Plans to travel and see the world, of leisure with friends, of golf games, and sunsets.
But for “Grandfamilies” those visions greatly diminish. For grandparents raising toddlers the only visions they have are of exhaustion and nap times. Cleaning up after and chasing small children is hard and tiring work. Raising, clothing, and feeding children is expensive and worrisome to aging parents. Those old visions must change to accommodate their new realities.
So now what? Do we just stop dreaming altogether? What do we have to look forward to now? Do we dare to create a new vision?
YES! And again, YES! In fact, we absolutely must. We owe it to ourselves and our grandchildren. My husband and I are raising our grands; we speak from experience. We also had visions. When those visions die, part of your soul goes with it. But in the Bible, God tells us that without vision the people perish.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV).
In other words, without plans or direction you have nothing to live for. We need to plan to be healthy for these children. We need to share new and exciting dreams with these children.
We created a new family vision, one of knowing and loving the country that we live in. We read, watch videos, and travel to see many of our country’ National Monuments. The children love this and have become so well versed in our history’s culture.
Don’t stop dreaming. Don’t stop investing in your future.
What new vision will you create next? Pray, seek, and knock. God can open amazing doors to you.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,” (Matthew 7:7 NIV).
Rachel Mahnke is a certified health and wellness coach and sought-after speaker. She is the mother of 10 biological children, 3 stepchildren and is raising 2 of her 11 grandchildren. Rachel, along with her husband and best friend, Lee, reside in Colorado.
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