Sharing values with my family has always been deeply important to me. Of course, it was important when I was raising my children. But it hits home even more as I watch my grandchildren live through significant life stages and milestones. Witnessing a grandchild transition into adulthood means you have been connected throughout the years. You can be in your grandchild’s life for 30 or 40 years, but staying connected is the key.
How to Stay Connected as Your Grandchildren Age
So how do you stay connected? (Hint: Our book coming out this June, Where Two Worlds Meet: A Guide to Connecting with Your Teenage Grandchildren, shares insight on how to do this)
On the eve of my 94th birthday, I spoke to my second-youngest grandchild. Some people love the pure celebration of birthdays. I do enjoy a good piece of chocolate cake! Others, however, including me, appreciate the occasion of birthdays to reflect on where you’ve been and where you are going.
“I’m lucky to have you as my grandpa,” my granddaughter told me on this birthday eve call. It made me realize that no matter where I’ve been, the moment I am in right now is exactly where I am supposed to be. It was good to know that I had made a positive impact on her life, looking back on what I had hoped to teach (and learn) from her. And make no mistake about it, even at 94, I still have aspirations about what I can still achieve, contribute, and learn in my lifetime, including new ways to support my adult children and my grandchildren of all ages.
How we form connections
A connection can be formed in many ways. You can share the music you both enjoy. Who are your favorite singers? Who are your grandchildren’s favorite singers?
How do you use modern technology to stay connected? Your grandchild can teach you. Ask them to read their school term papers. Don’t become judgemental; when you show an open mind, your grandchildren are more open to sharing or engaging in deep discussions… Read their work, and learn and say thank you.
I asked my grandchildren to share their school work from grade school through college. By sharing what’s important to them in their world, I can better understand how they experience the world we are living in.
Why do I want to stay connected? I tell my grandchildren it’s because “I love you. I want to hear about your world and share a perspective on my world with you.”
How Memories Spark Memories
Watching my first granddaughter Jessica say “I do” at her recent wedding, brought me back to the first moment I laid eyes on her, the day she was born.
As my wife and I drove home from the hospital that day, I thought about how, as grandparents, we would support our daughter and son-in-law as they raised this beautiful baby. I have seen my children become parents, and even grandparents. Each new stage brings new delights.
I want to stay committed to what I have worked on all my life: to help my grandchildren and my family. I have a passion for trying to live my life fully and effectively by helping others. “Always leave your campsite better than you found it” has been my lifeling motto.
My grandchildren have learned this concept from me and are reminded that wherever they go, what they have learned from me is that they should leave their school, their job, their home, and the world better than they found it.
The Only Constant in Life is Change (and Growth)
I moved into an assisted care home at the beginning of April. The key to success in my new living situation is making friends. I was having lunch earlier this week when another gentleman in residence mentioned he was going to go on a walk. I playfully asked if he could bring me back a flower.
Later that day, I heard a knock on my door. I opened it to find him pinning a small flower on the door. “Here’s your flower,” he said. I thanked him, and now we have unleashed a new friendship. Making new friends is another source of hope for the future.
Creativity, passion, and commitment lead my life.
Creativity means that we work together, sharing ideas and unleashing mutual creativity in the process. Passion means that I care about my family deeply and unconditionally. Commitment to me means I stick by my family and my grandchildren forever through the ups and downs, through the good and the bad; we remain there for each other, always. (What do these words mean to you?)
With all the reflection I am optimistic for all that is coming in my 94th year of life. On April 24th, there is a new round of Grandparents! Write Your Stories. Please join over 400 grandparents who have signed up to receive writing prompts twice a week for six weeks, to share their life stories with their families (Sign-up here). I invite you to pre-order a copy of my forthcoming book, Where Two Worlds Meet: A Guide to Connecting with Your Teenage Grandchildren here. Or, what are you doing at 11 am CT on April 26? Debbie Saviano is hosting my first book launch event, on LinkedIn Live.
Another favorite phrase is of mine “Don’t die until you are dead.” 94 is going to be a great year!