In the classic books, The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf was the wise old wizard that guided the heroic party through to success. While we dont have real Gandalfs in our lives, you may be able to remember when you were young that wise elder statesman that you looked up to and revered because they were a source of wisdom and caring when you as a young person seemed to be continuously confused and afraid about what was happening to you in life.
As you enter your senior citizen years, its a good time to reflect on how that elder in your young life served such a valuable function of helping and guiding you. Perhaps your reason for being in the place of elder statesman in your familys life that you too become revered and that you can serve them with wisdom, compassion and love. So the question might be, how do you fill that role and become revered the way the wise old Gandalf was?
You dont have the magic that Gandalf had to help his young charges through their struggles. Perhaps the first step of becoming the wise revered elder of your family is to see yourself in that role. By creating a vision of a wise elder, perhaps using the model of who that person was in your youth, you give yourself a role to grow into. Picture situations in which you were able to be there for your family and they would turn to wise old Grandpa or Grandma and get just the right advice for the hour.
One such situation might be at Christmas. Late Christmas Eve, your grandchildren can climb up in your lap to take comfort from you being there for them. It is this kind of sweet moment where they should be able to ask Grandpa or Grandma anything that troubles them. You will want to bring the maximum amount of patience and love to that sweet time with your grandchild so he or she knows that Grandma or Grandpa is a font of endless patience and endless answers to their questions.
This is the way you become revered. The psychological results of just that short time with you can be powerful in a young life. Just knowing there is an elder in their lives who is always there, never too busy for them and with whom they can talk about anything and who will probably know the answer gives a child the confidence to face life with courage and calm. That is a wonderful gift you give to your grandchildren and its something only you can give them that is a gift even their mom and dad cannot provide.
As you fill that role, your children and their spouses too will start to see you in the role of wise old Gandalf and someone they can always turn to. When you were in the role of parent, they may have looked to your parents for that role. But now that you are stepping into the senior role, you may get late night phone calls from adult children who just need a caring ear to listen and a soft loving voice, slightly deepened with age, to just assure them that they can handle the crisis and that they will be all right.
It will take courage for you to not panic and to fill that roll of comforter and adviser but its a crucial role that only a grandparent can provide. But probably the most important thing you can do to become the one they turn to when they need Grandpa or Grandma is to always be there. This is harder than it seems.
A friend of mine tells of a call he got from a teenage granddaughter at three in the morning. She needed love, advice as well as emotional counseling. And as dearly as that senior citizen needed his sleep, he was there for that little girl and guided her through the crisis until she was sleeping peacefully in her bed. And why was that child able to weather a crisis in her young life? Because Grandpa was always there for her. And if you make sure that there is no situation that your kids or grandchildren cannot interrupt to come to you for help, advice or comfort, you will capture a revered place in their hearts that will be yours to keep forever.