One of the greatest blessings of my life is that I grew up living close to my grandparents. For the first eight years of my life, I actually lived just a mile or so away from them and we attended the same church every week, and even after we moved to a different town, we were only a 25-minute drive, a drive that we made often as we shared family dinners, holiday traditions, and sleepovers at their house where we stayed up late playing Rummikub and Poker.
When I was a teenager, my grandparents came to all of my choir concerts, voice and piano recitals, and school plays. They were truly a part of my high school experience and got to know my friends, who all called them “Grampy and Grammy.”
There’s really no way to put into words the impact that my grandparents have had on my life, and when they passed away in 2019 and 2021, I mourned deeply and also marveled that I had been so richly blessed to have such incredible mentors in my life.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have such a close relationship with their grandparents, but I can tell you from personal experience that it richly blesses a child’s life when he or she has the opportunity for this kind of cross-generational mentorship and nurturing. And my podcast guests today are on a mission to make that possible for more families.
Richard and Linda Eyre are parents of nine children, grandparents of 34 children, and great-grandparents of 54 children. They have written over 52 books on parenting, including several New York Times Bestsllers, and have spoken to groups all over the world on the topics of parenting, life-balance, and family-strengthening. They have also been frequent guests on national TV shows like Oprah, the CBS Early Show, Prime Time Live, Today, and Good Morning America–and they are now devoting their writing, teaching, and speaking to Grandparenting.
- The relationship between children and grandparents can be a decisive factor in the long-term confidence and resilience of a child. Grandparents can be champions for their grandchildren in ways that parents may not be able to be because grandparents often have more time, space, emotional distance, and perspective than parents who are in the trenches.
- Traditions and routines with grandparents can present opportunities to build confidence and connection in children. This might include something like a yearly interview on their birthday, Grammy Camp in the summer, a family history night during your annual family reunion where you tell memorable stories about your ancestors, or a weekly or monthly Zoom call.
- Parents have the stewardship over the children, and grandparents are the secondary support. This means that grandparents offer more encouragement than unsolicited advice. I love the idea of having a quarterly meeting with grandparents to talk about how children are doing and what grandparents can do to be a support. While these conversations may feel forced and a little uncomfortable at first, as you do them more frequently, my guess is that you’ll come to trust each other more and the synergy and support will only grow.
>>>Are these tips from the Richard and Linda Eyre on Intentional Grandparenting helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.
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- In the Arena Podcast
- BBC Poll: Pandemic’s Varied Effects on Wellbeing
- Eyres on the Road podcast
- Book: Being a Proactive Grandfather
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