What Should We Give To Our Grandchildren?
BY REBECCA WHEAT
I was a teacher and principal for many years. If I know one thing it’s that educators are making the best decisions under incredibly challenging conditions where things are continually in flux. For many families, the school is the “village,” providing food, child care, emotional support, and community.
As grandparents, we can play a critical role with our grandchildren. We can listen deeply to teachers and principals and do whatever they need most. In the beginning, we may be zoom tutors or storytellers. As schools open more we can be in-person tutors and assistants. We may be asked to deliver computers, supplies, and even meals.
How do we instill hope in our children and grandchildren?
As we interact with families, many of them struggling and under intense pressure, we can be wonderful listeners. We can be examples to our grandchildren that everyone can step up and make a difference.
Michelle Obama was recently asked, “What can we give our children?” She answered, “Hope.” How do we instill hope in our children and grandchildren?
I think we can begin by instilling a sense of purpose that gives our life meaning. Think of those we know who have a sense of purpose- taking care of shelter animals, working on human rights issues, or providing food and health care to marginalized communities. And with purpose comes action.
And this kind of learning promotes a sense of efficacy. Yes, I can do this. I can truly make a difference. What I do matters. I am part, of something much bigger than myself.
This sense of efficacy is very empowering.
Each of our grandchildren and children can be inspired that they can create a profound difference for good. Perhaps Martha Graham said it most beautifully, “there is a vitality, a life force, energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you, in all time, this expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
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May we empower, inspire, and give hope to our young people, that they have a critically important role in the web of life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Rebecca Wheat. Pt. Richmond
I am a grandparent of six. I was a teacher, principal, and then worked at U.C. Berkeley at the Principal Leadership Institute. I have a doctorate from U.C.Berkeley, in Educational Psychology I have written Four books on education. I am deeply concerned about our young people, yet hopeful.