My grandchildren are quite young. The oldest just turned five years old.
At the ages of two, three, four and five, almost all kids respond quite well to little gifts and treats.
Whenever I go to visit, or whenever they come to my house, I try to have little gifts ready for them.
Some might say I’m trying to buy their love. For shame, Grandma!
These little treats and tokens communicate to my grandchildren that I love them, that I think of them, that I delight in seeing their pleasure.
What could be wrong with that?
It is said, “Money can’t buy love.”
I’m not so sure. Money and gifts are way better than no money and no gifts.
If your husband said he loved you but never gave you anything, wouldn’t you wonder how he actually felt about you?
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy from him. It could be a single red rose, or a card, or some small thing that only the two of you understand and value, that can help build love.
If Jesus said that He loved the world, yet never did anything for us: never came to be born a man, never healed the sick, never fed crowds, preached good news, or died on the cross….then wouldn’t you tend to doubt His words?
Young children understand that material gifts mean love. Unfortunately, later in their development they come to understand that sometimes material gifts also communicate things like guilt, deceit, bribery, obligation without sincerity.
But for now, these little treats that I give my grandchildren are teaching them that I like to connect with them. And then, if I also play with them, read to them, listen to them, etc. then the toy gifts mean even more to them.
When I was a little child, I knew my grandparents loved me because there was always chocolate milk and orange jello in the fridge when we came to visit. Later, I knew they loved me because Granddaddy took us to the zoo and to China Town and boating on Stow Lake, and Grandmommy taught me how to sew.
Eventually, my grandchildren grow and mature, they will have internalized how it feels to be loved by Grandma and Grandpa. And they will begin to find ways of expressing their own love, not from their parents’ prompting—which isn’t a bad thing—but by their own choice.
The Word of God says: “We love Him because he first loved us. (John 4:18 NIV Bible)
Same thing goes for grandparents and their grandchildren!