“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship
of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy,
excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
– Rachel Carson
“In a brief space the generations of beings are changed, and, like runners, pass on the torches of life.”’
Like you, I am a grandparent wildly in love with my grandchildren, who – like yours – are the most amazing, brilliant, attractive and accomplished grandchildren in all the world.
If you’re a grandparent, that sentence undoubtedly makes perfect sense to you. If you’re a soon-to-be grandparent: trust me, Dear Reader; it will make perfect sense to you the moment that cooing bundle is placed in your arms. My late wife, Margaret, and I were blessed to have six of them – three girls and three boys, born between 1983 and 2002.
It didn’t surprise me that I became such an ardent grandfather to those enchanting and (let’s be honest) sometimes exasperating young people. After all, you’re supposed to be crazy about your grandchildren. What did surprise me was how fascinated I’d become, as a longtime social-work professional, by the unique dynamics of what I’ve come to call “The Grandest Love.” And how deeply convinced I’d become of the grandparent-grandchild relationship’s powerful potential to strengthen – even transform – the lives of individuals, families and communities.
Grandparenting is a sacred trust. In a world characterized by rapid change and shifting social mores, we will remain the grandparents of our children’s children, “in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part.” And, with 47 being the average age someone becomes a grandparent today, the good news is we will have a long time to watch our grandchildren grow into adulthood.
The trick is entering their world, where they are, at any age. It may mean crafts and zoo’s and tickles when they are younger (yes, so much easier!); texting, reading what they are reading for things to talk about that aren’t “lame or annoying,” and some of the real life things you went through yourself as they become adults.
Through it all, grandparents often wonder about their role, their legacy, and how to have a meaningful relationship across the generations. That’s why I decided to harness 60+ years of career expertise, community activism and parenting, along with three decades of hands-on grandparenting, to write a book, The Grandest Love: Inspiring the Grandparent-Grandchild Connection.
Since writing, Grandparenting has become an active verb for me, a movement, of grandparents unleashing their creativity and love to transform the lives of their families.
One initiative I am working on is the Grandparents Connection school kit–with step by step insights and instructions for grandparents to set up programs at their local schools, like I have done throughout the schools in Deerfield.
Stay tuned for more, and please let me know your ideas, your passions, and how together we can bring more love to our families and the world.