i’ve been a grandparent for 28 years, a lifetime for them especially the older ones already and in some ways a grandparent’s lot can feel like a lifetime full of change.   It certainly has changed and is different to when we (those in our 70s) had our own grandparents, or when our children had our parents as grandparents.  Whatever the case there are definitely many matters for us to pray out.

Already some years ago I started a MOVEMENT OF PRAYER OF GRANDPARENTS FOR GRANDCHILDREN so that either alone, as a couple, or as a small group we could meet and share our experiences in the light of this prayer. There are a number of articles and prayer activities on our website. Go to .https://marfam.org.za/2021/07/15/grandparents-matter/?swcfpc=1 as well as http://www.sacbc.org.za.

HEAVENLY FATHER, I give you praise and thanks for the great gift of life you have given to me.   With wonder and awe I acknowledge that through my life you granted life to my children and they in turn became the parents of my grandchildren.     The word in which they live is different from my world and sometimes we do not understand each other.  We need your gifts of acceptance and forgiveness so that we can be at peace.   We need your gifts of love and joy so that together we may live your plan for our family and all the families of the world.  We ask St Joachim and St Anne the grandparents of Jesus to join us in prayer and ask this in Jesus name.   Amen.         


No doubt there’s much that’s changing in the families of today

We gather not for Sunday lunch where cousins meet and play.

At grandp’s house we’d meet and share for each to have their say

On joys and struggles facing us along a more quiet way.

The grandp’s of today may live alone or have some kids to stay

It could be that they have no kids at all or that they’re far away.

Or maybe it’s our lot, to grandparent in another way.

There could be more too than just one cat, four dogs, 12 lovebirds….. who’s to say!          

I’ve seven grandkids but that’s not all, it could change every day

With love from Granny Toni  2017


You’ve possibly heard those words or maybe thought those words? Expressed in different tones of voice, possibly with very different emotions behind them. Take a moment to remember your own granny and what she would have had to say about you, and also what kind of granny you see yourself to be. Let’s look at it in this way.

OH TO BE A GRANNY There is the brag-book granny, proud, happy. My little darlings are so cute and so clever.   Only 16 months and can………..

OH TO BE A GRANNY There is another show-off granny. “My darlings have done great things. Their father/mother was like that too.

OH TO BE A GRANNY There is the older mother/mom-in-law, waiting, dying for a little one.  Even if children married or not they might even say, “Just give me a grandchild to love.”

OH TO BE A GRANNY There is the concerned granny. “Oh what a blessing. In spite of parental neglect they at least have me to look after them.”

OH TO BE A GRANNY There is the supportive granny, “I get satisfaction from being able to help.

OH TO BE A GRANNY. There is the disappointed caring granny. “They really don’t seem to need me.”

OH TO BE A GRANNY. Heard from teenage mother. “I’m jolly pleased I can leave this child with my mom, so I can get on with my own life, go back to school, get a job.”

OH TO BE A GRANNY There is the used/exploited granny, “I wish I wasn’t a granny.  I’m tired of looking after these brats. They eat my pension money and expect me to provide for them.

OH TO BE A GRANNY. There is the hopeful granny. ”I’m hopeful that these young clever ones will be able to put things right in our world.”

And no doubt there are more, to say nothing of the granddads!


Ethnic, cultural or race dimensions are important. Usually there are more grannies. 18% of older headed are skip generation, using their grants and pensions. More than 8% children grow up with grandparents, but many more are in partial care of grandparents who do not necessarily have authority over them.

DON’T FORGET. There are many decisions people get to be able to make in their lives. To marry, to have children, to work, to choose where to live, to come and go. One thing we do not get to choose – to be a grandparent. It is something, a decision, an action of our own children that makes us into grandparents. It also in a sense does not necessarily give us power or status.  A good number are exploited mainly financially, at times abused and quite often neglected.  Those in retirement villages or homes may be left and abandoned.  The current inquest into the Life Esidimeni tragedy where 144 elderly died of hunger, neglect and illness in institutions speaks to a reality where their families were not in touch with what was happening to them.   Most often it is the adult children, rather than the grandchildren who are involved, missing on a valuable two-way caring relationship between young and old.  It can be a gift and a joy, but also a cross and a burden.

Should or shouldn’t our young generation think twice before they make the momentous life-changing decision to become parents and so make us their parents into grandparents?  Do we have rights?

Important matters to note apply to the elderly in general. As their life situation changes different issues arise. Physical and mental health generally decline in old age. Mental health, dementia and Alzheimers may bring personality changes from a bright bubbly person to a grumpy, stubborn and critical one.  

Taking note……….. There is a special dimension to being a grandmother or -father, rather than just being elderly, a family dimension, sense of belonging and commitment, responsibility for ….. in spite of….  A grandmother is a unique and special kind of person.  The relationship matters although many do look after other children too, a universal foster-gran. Not all grandparents are elderly, they can be as young as 30s, many are widowed and have to adapt to that loss. Many are single parents. .

In themselves the elderly experience sadness, anxiety and fears on the one hand but ideally also a sense of peace and contentment and a deeper sense of their spirituality.   

Whether they are grandparents or not, the elderly need what every human being needs LOVE.  They give and they receive, and we, especially the young and their families can only benefit them and ourselves.                LOVE ISN’T PUT IN YOUR HEART TO STAY. LOVE ISN’T LOVE TILL YOU GIVE IT AWAY.