What a difference a grandparent can make! Did you know that approximately one third of the current adult US population are grandparents! Wow! This largely untapped resource is clearly available in one form or another whether biological, through re-marriage, adoption or friendship. Here are some of my assertions as to why we should be intentional about the amazing positive impact grandparents can have on our family. A resource for us, yes, but more specifically for our children, their grandchildren.
Of course, everyone thinks about the obvious of asking their parents to watch their kids for a period of time. A staggering 2.7 million grandparents provide regular after school care for their grandkids. Talk about a resource! For other families, occasional babysitting is one way they can spend time together that is uninterrupted. Most grandparents enjoy being grandparents. This fact alone allows them to appreciate their grandchildren free from the day to day issues we, as parents, deal with. They can accept the grandkids for who they are, encourage them, and send them home happy, having given everyone a break from each other. This benefits all three generations. As Lois Wyse once said, “If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I’d have had them first.”
Grandparents have the unique ability to pass on their values to their grandkids without judgment. Depending on their age, grandchildren are often more willing to listen and give consideration to a grandparent’s views than their parents. Grandparents can also retell family stories with a richness so vital to building a sense of family history. No one tells those stories better! Even the ones we didn’t necessarily want repeated. They also have the gift of time to sit and listen to their grandkids stories too! Additionally, they have valuable life experience to pass on… to anyone who is willing to listen!
Grandparents are living longer and longer, so there is more time for the benefits of the relationships to play out and include not only grandchildren, but great-grandchildren as well. These days, grandparents are more fit and active through exercise and health awareness. They participate in sports, dance, causes dear to their heart and travel. Many are modeling for their grandkids what it means to give back to their community through volunteering in various places like church, shelters and schools.
In response to the ever changing technology, grandparents are embracing the digital age through email, texting and even Skyping. What an amazing way to connect regularly with grandchildren when there are miles and miles between you. It is an affirming fact to know grandparents think about you, care about you and take the time to reach out to you. And what kid doesn’t love using their own technology? Don’t forget that grandparents have spending power, too. Perhaps they could sponsor their grandchild in an after school activity that doesn’t fit in the budget or buy something from the myriad of school related fundraisers. They can be great suppliers of books, clothes and the proverbial “special” toy! Don’t lose sleep over the sugar indulgences they are known for either. That’s what toothbrushes were made for!
Last, but certainly not least, when the younger generations spend time with the older generations, they develop positive views about them. This will certainly go a long way in your child’s personal growth in the areas of respect and honor of their elders whether they are 20, 40 or 60 years older! May your child be so blessed to have a grandparent love on them, treasure them and show them in some meaningful way that grandparents are indeed grand!
Did you have a grandparent that you have fond memories of? Do your children?