My Grandchild is My Whole World – Is That Okay?

Ardella Perry-Osler

December 6, 2023

"My grandchild is my whole world – is that okay?"

When someone asks whether another person can be their whole world, I sense they already know the answer. Christians are fully aware that God tells us to not have any other gods before him. But no one plans for it to happen, especially with our grandchildren. It seems to sneak in; and one day we realize that our grandchildren have become the most important people in our lives. If you think that is something you would never do, try this little test. Consider how often you reference your grandchildren in conversations with others or show pictures of them. How much do you plan your schedule around them? If something seems out of balance, then it may be time for dethroning, balancing, and restructuring.


I admit to having spoiled my grandchildren with toys and gifts at first. But a change came after my young grandson looked at my hands when I arrived for a visit. He asked, “What did you bring me, Na-Na?” He wasn’t looking at me or expressing any joy at seeing me. He was looking more for my presents than my presence. I had inadvertently taught him my relationship with him was about the stuff I gave. But I wanted it to be about love. 

I reflected on the advice of a former pastor when I questioned how a person can ensure they are not putting others in front of God. He referred me to Paul’s description of the free-hearted giving of the Macedonian church. “They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then, by the will of God, also to us” (II Corinthians 8:5b). According to this verse, we should dethrone our grandchildren and put God back on the throne by focusing our energy and love on God first. Then we examine God’s will in what we do for others. We have to make God the most important person in our lives, not our grandchildren or anyone else. After we take our grandchildren off the throne of our hearts, we have to seek God’s guidance in finding the balance we need.


The first Christmas after that same grandson was born, I backed up my car to his parents’ door and unloaded gifts like I was driving Santa’s sleigh. I was so excited to be able to give him things I could not afford when I raised his father. But I overdid it. A few years later, my daughter-in-law told the children that Jesus only got 3 gifts on Christmas, so they didn’t need any more than that either because it wasn’t their birthday. That is not a commandment, but it did help me bring balance to a holiday that tends toward excess and has lost its true meaning. 

Pray through the previous passage and ask God to help you evaluate whether your life is out of balance. Ask yourself whether the majority of your time goes to the grandchildren at the expense of interactions with others. Consider whether you are neglecting church ministry, other personal relationships, or your own social life. Grandchildren are going to grow up and leave home just as our children did. Therefore, grandparents need to make sure they have found balance by creating lives that are not fully dependent on their social and emotional interaction with grandchildren alone. When that has happened, we need to begin the process of changing how we live.


As a single adult, it was easy to spend time outside of work with my grandchildren, and my life became centered on them. God had to show me that I was trying to fill an emotional need. It was a painful truth to face. Psalm 147:3 tells us that God heals the brokenhearted. Only God. We begin restructuring after we come to God and confess as He directs us (I John 1:9). Then we ask Him to heal anything in us that is still suffering from past pain or loss. One of Paul’s prayers for the church was, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Look at the many blessings we can receive from God when we pray the same prayer: joy, peace, and overflowing hope. And it’s all given through the Holy Spirit’s power. This is the same power that will help us restructure how we are living so we can use that powerful two-letter word–"no"–when we find that our grandchildren have become our whole world.

Once we become honest with ourselves that those wonderful grandchildren have not only stolen our hearts, but may also have taken God’s place in our lives, we can become open to changing how we live. That will mean first returning God to his rightful place in our hearts. Then we can ask him to show us how to balance our time, our affection, and our finances in the way he wants us to. As we go to God alone for the emotional healing that we need, he will empower us to live joyfully. Then the question about whether or not it’s okay for anyone or anything outside of God to be your whole world will answer itself.

About the author — Ardella Perry-Osler

Ardella is a writer with a background in teaching and educational leadership. In addition to spending many years in the public and private educational sectors, she is a Sunday School teacher and Christian Education Director. Ardella has also authored Sunday School lessons and devotionals for various publishers. Her first book, Learning to Love Olivia (2012), chronicles Ardella’s experience with her mother’s journey through Alzheimer’s. Ardella is a certified Biblical Counselor and also does volunteer work with young mothers. Her current blog, “I Need a Minute,” is at

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