I’m just beginning this journey called grand parenting – and I’m excited beyond measure for it. The relationship between a grandchild and grandparent is a very special one. While a grandparent is an authority figure they are not the ones that have to discipline in the way a parent does. Instead they get to provide love and support in a very unique way.
I learned a long time ago that if I’m not intentional about things in my life I get to the other side and look back and have regrets. So this is me committing to influence my grand kids in these 6 ways.
Teach them about history, especially in these turbulent times. I saw a presentation just last night about history. The gentleman asked a room full of teens how many were worried about their futures? More then 95% of them raised their hands.
He then went on to graph out the life of his father who was born a year before WWI – the war to end all wars. He graphed out the good and bad over the next 85 years of his fathers life. He took them through what happened throughout history during the life span of his father. He then took them through the actual life of his father, about his marriage, his children, his joys and pains. Showing the teens that there will always be ups and downs. The time we are living in is not unique or scarier than any other time – and that as long as we focus on what is important that we can “Have a good life.” in spite of the scary that has infected the world.
A New Skill Set
Teach your grandkids a skill. Something you loved to do as you were growing up, something your dad or mom or grandparent taught you.
This is a great one. Because if there is one-thing lots of years on this earth should get you it’s wisdom. And refer back to #1 – to show them the wisdom you gained in spite of turmoil.
This is a huge one. I read an amazing study on teaching your grand kids about their family history and where they came from. The benefits are amazing – so tell them about their parents and about your life and how you grew up.
I’m not saying tell them everything – just the basics, good and bad.
This is always a good skill. Not only listening to your grand kids and letting them share with you everything that is going on in their lives but also helping them learn to listen to you as you tell them stories about your life.
Listening is such an important skill and as a grandparent you can have a huge influence on this.
This is one that you may not recognize until years later. Let me explain.
Years ago I was on my way back from the east coast and was sitting next to a young man that was recently married. He was a comedian on his way to perform in Salt Lake City. As we talked about life, marriage and parenting I told him one of philosophies.
This philosophy has to do with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Knowing myself I had decided years ago that I wanted my kids to know and be close to our extended family. To know people that had the same values as I had.
I was betting on the fact that some day I would say “do this” and they would say “No” just to spite me. But my reasoning was that in that day they would look to their extended family who they adored and decide because of the love and respect they had for them NOT to push the line.
This young man said “hmmm that’s funny. I have a grandma that grew up in the town next to me. I adored her. When I turned 16 I started to grow out my hair, much to the chagrin of my parents. They mentioned it a couple of times but decided against pushing the issue.
On my 16th birthday I got my drivers license and had a long-standing date to drive to grandmas and take her to dinner. When I arrived she took one look at me, pointed down the street and said “the barber shop is down there, come and pick me up once your hair is cut.” and she shut the door.
I was shocked but laughed as I opened the door and said come on grandma – to which she said, “I’m not joking!”
I quickly went to the barbershop and cut my hair, returned and we enjoyed a nice dinner. I never grew my hair out again.”
This relationship didn’t happen in a day or even a year – but constant daily, monthly, yearly care that this grandma gave to this grandson. That whole emotional bank account that Stephen R Covey talks about.
There’s no better way to pass on family traits than through time spent with one another.