Deliberate, intentional grandparenting: how to make a difference
BY LINDA AND RICHARD EYRE
OK, the question is, are you ready to become intentional and deliberate about your grandparenting? Are you committed enough to actually have a plan for what and how you want to teach your grandkids? Are you ready to, step-by-step, become the kind of grandparent that makes a difference—that improves the world for your grandchildren (and creates real teamwork with your children to form an effective Three-generation family)?
More and more grandparents are saying yes to these questions, and they are putting their effort and priorities where their mouth is!
When we started the Zoom and online course Grandparenting101.com last year, over a thousand grandparents joined and will be participating in the class’s final module this month, and it is a rigorous course with a two-hour seminar each month and weekly emailed bulletins. Take a look at the curriculum below:
Month/Module A: The Higher Perspective, Priority, and Paradigm of More Effective Grandparenting.
The first step in becoming better grandparents is not about changing our grandkids, but about changing ourselves. Many of us will be grandparents for 40 years, and in Module A, we examine our priorities, our roles, the new opportunities and relationship changes that come in the “autumn” of our lives, and the tricky business of being effective grandparents without stepping on the toes of our children the parents. For “homework” we explore and write personal Grandparenting Vision Statements. Also in this first module, we discuss long-distance grandparenting (when grandkids live far away) along with the importance of setting boundaries and finding a balance between taking care of yourself and taking care of your family.
Module B: Grandparenting Goals and Roles (by age).
Being a good and effective grandparent of babies and toddlers is very different from being good with elementary age. And teens are something else again. Homework includes a “needs analysis” of each grandchild and holding a “five-facet review” of each grandchild with our children and the parents. And we spend some time on the separate and individual perspectives of grandmas vs. grandpas—how the two roles differ and how they can work in synergy.
Module C: Deep Life Relationships with Individual Grandkids.
No matter how many or how few grandchildren you have, the real difference-making work is not collective but one-on-one. In this module, we do a deep dive into creative ideas about how to get an individual grandkid to open up, how to build trust, how to know his or her real gifts, how to have real communication and memorable fun together, and how to make each one feel like they are your favorite. Homework involves creating a “Grandchild ledger” where you take notes on what you know and what you learn about each one, and a questionnaire for kids to keep track of their loves and dreams.
Module D: Smart Support. When it comes to financial help, sometimes we give more by giving less. During this module we explore the potential joys and pitfalls of assistance, inheritance, and money-help; and will tackle the difficult dangers of entitlement and initiative robbing and contrast it with the power and motivation of matching, supplementing, and monitoring. Homework involves creating your own Generation One and Three Financial Plan and developing an outline for a “Teamwork and what to expect” discussion with our children and the parents.
Module E: Values and Faith. Whatever our own beliefs and values perspectives are, we want the best of them for our grandchildren. And we soon realize that values don’t just get passed on by osmosis—they have to be taught, and doing that effectively takes the right stories and ideas as well as the right example. During this module, all course members have the opportunity to order a set of one-a-month universal values stories called Alexander’s Amazing Adventures which are absolutely brilliant for creating discussion as they are listened to together, making topics like Honesty, Respect, and Self-Reliance come alive and become approachable.
Module F: Being the Link and the Trunk. New research shows that resilience in kids is linked directly to how much they know about their ancestors. You are the “trunk” between the limbs of your children and grandchildren and the roots of your parents and grandparents, and the more you connect the two, the more lasting your family will be and the more resilient your individual grandchildren will be. This month we deliberately and specifically delve into the best ways to create the stories, the gatherings and reunions, and the culture that will bond your family, and we re-create and finish the Grandparenting Vision Statement that you started back in Module 1.
If you are ready to join this movement toward more prioritized grandparenting, here is the good news: The course starts next month, with Module 1 coming early in March. Take a look at the overview at www.Grandparenting101.com and get registered and signed up as a member!
Get your teeth into this marvelous and delightful role of grandparenting! Make a difference! Oh, and did we mention how much fun it is when you know what you are doing? And when you are learning and exchanging ideas with hundreds of other grandparents?
Bottom line: Grandparenting can be a skill, an art, and a joy.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
GRAND is pleased to welcome New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors Richard and Linda Eyre as regular columnists. The Eyres’ parenting and life-balance books have reached millions and been translated into a dozen languages. As fellow baby boomers, their passion and their writing focus have now shifted to the joy of grandparenting. Linda’s latest book is Grandmothering, and Richard’s is Being a Proactive Grandfather, and their latest initiative is a Grandparenting101 Zoom course which has an invitation list that you can join by emailing EyresGrandparenting101@gmail.com.