The Importance of Grandparents

Being a grandparent is a gift, and, until you become one, you cannot realize the love that you’ll feel for your children’s children. As a parent, you think you can never love another human being as much as you do your own child, but something happens when you become a grandparent. All of a sudden, the love for your child is extended onto your grandchild.

Typically, you also don’t have the same hang-ups that you had with your own children. You know what I mean—the expectation you had for your own children when you thought their behavior was a reflection of you as a parent. You probably expected them to act a certain way as if people would be judging you by your children.

Not this time around. Now we can enjoy the children for who they really are and not expect them to be carbon copies of ourselves. Miraculously, we’ve also developed more patience and understanding, and we truly do look at life through the eyes of this precious child.

Sometimes we are a haven where a child can cuddle on a lap knowing he’s surrounded by loving arms and no judgment will occur. Sometimes we can frolic with a grandchild as if we were playmates in- stead of adult and child. But, as the following two stories show, we may have a greater impact on the lives of our grandchildren than we think.

Dr. John Jenkins describes how his grandmother’s insistent pressure pushed him to continually move forward in his personal and professional life. We’ve also updated our Resource List to provide you with very latest contact information for agencies and groups that can help make your life better and easier when caring for grandchildren. And finally, our Q&A from our legal consultant, Gerry Wallace.

Castellano is executive director of the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights, and the editor of the kinship care section. To submit profiles for her consideration, write to her at castellano@grandparentsforchildren.org.

Originally Published on GRAND Magazine in July-August 2006

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