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Connecting with Grandkids – I Interviewed My Granddaughter


Interview With My Granddaughter

BY ELYSE PELLMAN

My husband and I love spending quality time with our family, particularly as we live far from each other. Recently, we had the good fortune of vacationing in Florida with our two grandchildren (and their parents!). I wanted to gain Maddie’s, my 19-year-old college student granddaughter’s, views on an ideal grandchild/ grandparent relationship. Her relatable opinions bring to light the benefits of communication and respect between grandchildren and grandparents. My interview with Maddie in her own words:

What’s the value of having grandparents in your life? 

 Grandparents are as close-knit as parents, whom we live with daily, but the relationship is calmer and more fun as they do not have the same parental responsibilities. With more life experiences, grandparents offer a different perspective than a parent, a sibling, or even aunts and uncles. Most grandparents lived in a very different “world” than the one their grandkids inhabit. Comparing and contrasting viewpoints from both generations can teach grandchildren valuable lessons as they pass on decades of knowledge, wisdom, and traditions. It’s cool—what a beautiful lineage for those lucky enough to have grandparents. 

#2 What personal lessons have you learned from your grandparents, and what have they learned from you?

“I am fortunate that I have three living grandparents. One of the most important things I learned from my Grandma Lysie is her ability to push through difficult times. When I look at her family, friendships, job, and passions, I see that she’s been able to make the best of her circumstances and teach others how to do the same. People respect her. She gives off a warmth you can feel whether you met her today, yesterday, or 20 years ago. She inspires me to be a strong person and confident woman.

My granddaughter, Maddie Guttentag

My grandfather, PopPop, taught me that loving someone means sometimes doing things you don’t always want to do. One vivid memory is visiting my grandparents in San Francisco as a child and craving pancakes from my favorite restaurant, Mamma’s. My grandfather detests waiting in line, yet he deeply loves me and loves to make me happy. We stood in line together…and my pancakes were delicious. Making small or big sacrifices for the people you love and care about is an important quality I strive to live up to.

Grandma Gloria, my Dad’s mom, taught me the value of family. That side of my family is large, with so many cousins, aunts, and uncles—all living near each other. GG, as I like to call her, is happiest when her brood of twenty-two spends time together. “Family first” has always been her motto, forgoing any other engagement. GG cares deeply about our safety and is very protective. Family means everything to me, too, in large part due to GG.”

 What advice would you give grandchildren to build stronger relationships with their grandparents?

“Often, kids are consumed with their own lives and don’t always accept the wisdom, knowledge, or advice offered by people around them, like their grandparents. It can be sad to know that your grandparents are growing older and may not be around much longer or confusing to find a way to communicate with them. But it is important to give them the appreciation and attention they deserve. Before my mother’s mother passed away, I was very young and did not understand how to best communicate with her. I now know how important it is to understand what matters to your grandparents. Be sure to listen and give them your undivided attention. What do they care about? What makes them smile? Despite generational differences, try to find common interests. When my grandparents visited me, we would have a spa night at their hotel, go out to dinner, or simply watch a movie with popcorn from room service. With GG, we visit our favorite museum or see A Christmas Carol. To strengthen bonding relationships, consider starting new traditions together. Imagine sharing these traditions with your kids and having these traditions continue to be passed down among the generations—a memorable legacy.

I encourage all grandparents to find their unique way to connect with their grandchildren, build valuable relationships, and create family traditions that can last for generations.”

Stay tuned for my interview with Trevor, my 15-year-old grandson, to see how his views on grandchildren/grandparent relationships are similar or different from Maddie’s ideas.

A special Grandma/Granddaughter Visit to London Holiday Celebrating Maddie’s 18th birthday. (I highly recommend a one-on-one trip of any kind for every grandparent.)

 

 About the Author

Elyse Pellman is President of Age Wave, the nation’s recognized authority on aging, longevity, and retirement. In that role, she has led operations, client management, and consumer and B2B strategy and development to help dozens of Fortune 500 companies meet the complex challenges and grand opportunities of the longevity revolution. Elyse’s favorite activities are spending time with her husband, Stuart, her grandchildren, and nieces, staying active and healthy, and traveling to Paris as often as possible.

Elyse Pellman

About the author

Elyse Pellman is President of Age Wave, the nation’s recognized authority on aging, longevity, and retirement. In that role, she has led operations, client management, and consumer and B2B strategy and development to help dozens of Fortune 500 companies meet the complex challenges and grand opportunities of the longevity revolution. Elyse’s favorite activities are spending time with her husband, Stuart, her grandchildren, staying active and healthy, and traveling to Paris as often as possible.

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