If you’re lucky enough to have grandparents, then you know how wonderful they are—and more than that, you also know deeply the importance of grandparents in your life. Far from being rocking chair bound relics complaining about the cold, today’s grandparents are lively, vibrant and involved in their families and their communities. Grandparents provide a link between the past and the future, they help mold the history of the family and always have the best stories.
Most of all what grandparents have is love for their families. As former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said,” What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.” Cookies aside, The role of grandparents is unquestionably special and profound, so we’re here to give you a few reasons that might help you acknowledge and affirm the importance of grandparents in your kids’ lives.
1. Life Lessons Grandparents have “been there, done that, and got the t-shirt”; there is little in life they have not experienced, seen or participated in. Grandparents have time to teach us to fish, time to listen to our early efforts to read and hours to spend answering questions. They teach us to be silly, to not take life to seriously and appreciate every minute we have coming to us.
2. Cultural Expression If you were raised on expressions that chided you to get up early, work harder, save money, honor your traditions or eat up, you probably had a grandparent in your life. Once you start saying them to your own children, you’ll be reminded of those kindly souls who repeated those expressions till they were burned into your memory.
3. Involvement Perhaps you are lucky enough to have your children and grandparents living close together. If not, learn to take advantage of technology that allows you to talk face to face across the miles. Using Face Time and Skype will allow your children to ‘visit’ with their grandparents, show off artwork and share stories. It’s not a hug and a kiss but, it’s close.
4. Creating Multi-Generational Realities More than anything, the role of grandparents is that they provide a second set of parents to help raise a child. With grandparents in the household, there’s always someone available to read a book, help with homework or just push the swing in the back yard. Having grandparents in the home does nothing but increase the love.
5. Quality Summers While summers might mean camp and weeks in the countryside learning to braid bracelets, to many summers means visiting with the grandparents. More than babysitters, grandparents teach understanding along with how to make soup. They teach that minutes spent working in the garden next to your grandparent is better than the tomatoes you’ll grow. Most importantly, they teach that their love is unconditional and non-judgmental, a lesson we need when we’re parents ourselves.