The Second Time...

Reflecting on grand parenting

By Rabbi Richard F. Address, DMin
Rabbi Richard Address
Courtesy of Rabbi Richard Address

This is a little reflection on grand parenting. I would appreciate any reactions. My daughter just gave birth to her second child. A boy. In fact, the first boy in our family since my son was born 38 years ago.

Now, I sat at my daughter's house yesterday holding this little bundle of joy, and began to reflect on how the heart expands to embrace more love. Someone asked me over the weekend if I was prepared for this new baby since I had doted on his sister for almost three years.

I admit that the question stopped me.

I had never thought about it.

So, now, holding this little boy, I began to think about how pliable the heart can be. There is an infinite reservoir of love that is available to each of us. I think, now, that one of the "gifts" of grandparenthood is that you learn this reality. Maybe it is a function of growing older and having a different perspective on life and living? Whatever it is, it is something that cannot be measured or scientifically studied; it just "is".

I can also now better understand why so many religious institutions are slowly developing some programming around grand parenting. It seems that the old stereotype of grandma and grandpa is being replaced by a new hipper, more active and engaging grandparent. There is no doubt that the relationship between grandparent and grandchild is a special one. It is, as a congregant mentioned to me recently, a real glimpse of immortality.

We may look into the eyes of these children and know, in some way, that we will never be able to physically go to their future. Yet, by what we do with them, by what we teach them and by the way we model how to live, we can, and often do, accompany them into their future. That is a very humbling and powerful reality.

And, the greatest gift we can give is that of love. The heart does expand to embrace new realities. And we can love with an unending love.

What a gift for our loved ones, and for ourselves.

Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.MIn

Published February 29, 2012

Rabbi Address is author of the book “Seekers of Meaning: Judaism, Baby Boomers and the search for Healthy Aging”. You can learn more about Rabbi Address and his books at

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