from A Grandpa's Notebook, Meyer Moldeven

Many older adults have interests other than family. They work, play golf and other sports, have active social lives and hobbies, and so on. So, indeed, what's in grandparenting for them?

It depends on how much value a grandparent-and a parent places on family ties and the need for and the flow of intergenerational communications. Where family has meaning, interacting with a far away grandchild adds substance to a 'value'. Then, as the grandparent ages, communicating with the distant grandchild retains its strength as a positive force, and enriches the remaining years. It reduces loneliness, and is an antidote for apathy and depression. Entering grandparenting with tolerance, constancy, and sincerity adds pleasures to a person's life. In storytelling, grandparenting invites a call from a distant grandchild to 'Send me another story,' or better yet, 'I've got an idea for a story. Let me tell you about it.'

The grandchild chose the grandparent over television and the many other forms of professionally polished commercial entertainment that thrusts forward for his or her attention. In so choosing, the youngster notifies the grandparents through his/her appeal that they, the grandparents, are wanted and needed. It's Grandchild reaching out and inviting Grandma and Grandpa into his or her world-with affection.

In single-parent families and in families in which both parents work away from home, there might not be as many opportunities to pass along traditions, awareness, and values. Be that as it may, throughout history the family and tribal elders passed their knowledge and codes of conduct on to those who, as part of the natural process, carry the torches into the future. This responsibility to family and community is in the substance of existence.

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