FOR THE LOVE OF RELATIONSHIPS – Intentional grandparenting 

We live in an age-segregated culture. Adolescents hang out with adolescents, preschool moms connect with preschool moms, and on it goes. There is no age diversity. We are missing something essential and valuable… the generational transfer of wisdom and life skills.  Grandparenting falls into this segregation of generational constructs.

Before the United States was such a mobile society moving from state to state for jobs, schooling, life advancement or even lifestyle choices, Sunday dinners at Grandma’s was a fixture in the rhythm of American life. Now, we don’t even experience Sunday dinners as a special event.

There is an increase in households that are headed by grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. These grandparents are burdened by primary parental care, disciplining and essential duties of childrearing. Other grandparents are a source of occasional babysitting duties which are a delight for many. 

The quintessential beauty of the role grandparents is to augment enhance, amplify, and explode the love, connection, attachment, bonding, spoiling, adoring, and hugging of their grandchildren. Grandparents provide a link and legacy to a family’s past, accomplishments, trials, and skills for overcoming obstacles. It is important for children to know their roots and their cultural heritage. Parents are often too busy to reflect and discuss these things.

Grandparents have more time and are less stressed regarding the daily pressures of life. Many are retired and do not feel responsible for raising the next generation. When surveyed, grandparents love spoiling their grandchildren, being light-hearted with them, playing games, reading books, taking them to events, being spectators at their sporting events or award assemblies at school. 

Grandparents are important because they provide:

  • an historical perspective to life
  • a mechanism for imparting valuable insights and essential life skills
  • time-tested generational truths
  • wisdom, time, love
  • modeling for successful living 
  • a blueprint for building family traditions and legacy
  • stability, connection and belonging through linkages to the past.

My grandparents who graduated from the 6th grade gave me a passion for education, positivity, hope, thrift and service. I stopped by their house on the way home from high school as my mom was working. When I walked in, my grandparents were thrilled to see me, offered me a piece of fresh fruit already pealed and allowed me to help them with a fun chore like making pasta, hanging the wet clothes on the clothesline in the backyard, cooking, sewing, taking the dogs for a walk, or just playing cards in the kitchen. Their constant admonition to stay in school, be kind, and make the world a better place, developed my character and my resolve to honor them.

My husband, who longs to spend more time with our hectic high school grandchildren, created a brilliant way to connect even if you do not live close-by. Every day of the week he texts each one with Mackenzie Monday (snippets about their Scottish Heritage), Travel Tuesday (pithy geography facts), Wisdom Wednesday, (famous historical truths) and so on. They respond with a electronic thumbs up or heart emoji.

Our children’s last grandparent went to be with the angels a week ago. She left a remarkable legacy of love, care and family connections for her children and grandchildren. We, grandparents, need to figure out a way to connect beyond the Sunday dinner at Grandma’s. We need to become intentional and creative about how we will leave a legacy of life skills and wisdom to our children and grandchildren. It is our sacred duty.