On Being A Parent: A Message for Grandparents
This month, I have a message for the many grandparents who read Parents & Kids.
It can be both joyful and confusing to be a grandparent today. Time changes everything, but most of us can agree…the rapid change that’s happened over the last decade has set a record!
With change comes, in many instances, both good and bad consequences. Grandparenting is one of those areas that often leaves a Nana or Papa wondering how, exactly, to connect with today’s “tuned out” grands. Though wading into waters of new adventure is sometimes challenging for adults, the medical community has documented the benefits of continuing to learn and staying active as we age.
Even though technology fills the waking hours of our children, sooner or later most all have a desire to connect with real people. Challenges with students or teachers makes them eventually want to talk, and frustrated, overworked parents can sometimes overlook needs of reassurance.
Thus, a beautiful relationship can blossom as a grandparent offers encouragement when parents are either distracted or unavailable. Words such as: “you have a purpose,” “it is always wise to save money,” or “decisions have consequences” can totally change a grandchild’s life.
In my opinion, even as a child’s life can be highly influenced by grandparents, getting involved in the life of the next generation flows in the opposite direction as well: it can have very positive effects on the adult. Whether a grandparent is brought in to attend to children full-time, or just picks and chooses times when visits are appreciated, the improved health of the grandparent has been well-documented. This verifies the significance of staying connected to those you love.
It has been said, “If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.” It’s funny how taking time to let my granddaughter Ashley polish my nails, make a mess in the kitchen as we bake cookies, or just sit and count the stars as they appear, seems to be a very important purpose for me. I understand an obvious fact: if I build a relationship now, there’s just no telling the problems she may be willing to share with me in years to come.
As a grandparent, I can’t think of anything better than influencing the next generation toward optimism.
But don’t forget: getting up from the recliner and leaving behind those not-so-interesting TV shows — and participating in healthier activities, such as walking the dog or playing word games on the computer — can help change this generation of grandparents as well! Don’t miss an opportunity to help your grandchild while also helping yourself.
Antje Hill spends time between Mississippi and Michigan and spends her time writing and speaking at various events.