CC licensed Flickr image by J Aaron Farr
It’s been an enriching, eye-opening experience, seeing my parents as new grandparents. I have a new appreciation for what it means to be a grandparent. Grandparents can play a huge role in their grandchildren’s lives and feel happy, proud and fulfilled leaving behind a legacy of selfless love. Sometimes there are challenges too. Grandparenthood is a very unique phase of life, with many things to deal with–aging of oneself, friends and family members, larger families, new roles, new perspectives, reflections on when they were younger, new physical, mental and emotional demands, new cultural, generational and technological adaptations, new relationships and new priorities. There’s a lot of change to take in (and change is often not easy), so I can appreciate how complex it could be for some to navigate this new role and life stage. I’ve been searching for articles to read on the topic, but surprisingly have not found much. Perhaps they are out there, or perhaps this is a particular phase of life that could use more knowledge building and sharing.
I can empathize that aging would have its share of mental and physical challenges (I took a developmental psychology course on the ‘Psychology of Aging’, which helped educate me a little bit on the topic), however, the power and privilege to pass on life lessons to future generations and influence your family legacy is a gift and something that can indeed have an impact on the world. Grandparents are important vehicles for making this happen. Personally speaking, my own grandparents had a very positive impact on me. Even though I only saw them once every few years when I would visit them in India, they helped instill in me, the values of warmth, caring, giving, and family connectedness.
Here is a poem of sorts (I am no poet, so perhaps this is more of a reflection) on what makes a good grandparent, inspired by what I have observed from my own grandparents, parents and other people’s stories of parenthood and grandparenthood. Continue reading