Shopping with Grandma

I write this sitting on the man sofa outside the women’s dressing room while Erin tries on clothes. A woman has just gone into the dressing room with her 6 or 7 year old granddaughter. On the way in she announced to her granddaughter, “Your mommy is lucky she works as a nurse.”

I fully expected the reason to be that she didn’t have to decide what clothes to wear because she had to wear scrubs, or something along those lines. That would have been a reasonable sentiment – I feel fortunate to not have to choose neckties, after all. Grandma’s answer?

“Because you’d be broke because Mommy can’t control her spending!”

Really? Are you serious? Sadly, this happens all too often. Grandparents have an issue with a child or child-in-law and so say toxic things to a grandchild. The worst part of it is that the grandchild takes the statement on face value and becomes afraid that her parents can’t adequately provide for her and protect her. Because children need their parents to be ok for their world to be a safe place, they assume it must be their fault, and they may as well schedule their first appointment with a therapist right now.

We all need to be careful of what we say to children. Even more importantly, we need to develop healthy, adult patterns of relationship wherein we speak directly to the person we have a problem with rather than passive aggressively gossip with others about our issue.

The ironic thing is the most often the things we choose to get energized about are none of our business. If Grandma doesn’t like how her daughter or daughter in law is spending she needs to mind her own business. If she is bankrolling irresponsible spending, then she is enabling the behavior and needs to look in a mirror to find the source of the problem.

I’m reminded of Jesus teaching that before we seek to remove the speck in another’s eye we should remove the plank from our own. They may well be the most ignored words he ever spoke.

Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone

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