Happy Grandparents Day
National Grandparents Day originated with Marian McQuade in West Virginia, USA. Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. President Jimmy Carter (1978) proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
In 2017, (USA) Grandparents Day falls on Sept. 10th
I hope your family can connect somehow on this upcoming Sunday. Family reunions are important because they allow the family to create rituals that connect the generations.
Children tend to love family rituals, even if they don’t admit it. Rituals provide a sense of security and can be soothing. A family ritual is anything your family does together deliberately. The routine of whatever you do is what counts. It can be anything. Just make sure you do it consistently.
Rituals are emotionally enriching. It is never too late to start a ritual. Some children may resist being involved in such ceremonies. But if rituals are presented in a non-controlling manner and you manage your expectations, all family members will ‘get on board’ much more readily than you thought. I have worked with many families that want to start building closer family time and one key way to do this is to have family reunions.
Let me give you an example:
Memories are highly personal and so is how a family wants to ‘remember’. Having a global connection allows a family the ability to participate on any level that is in their comfort zone so they can determine what they need. For many people having a structured event allows them the ability to connect to others easier, therefore, a family reunion is perfect. I work with families on “emotion stories” and tri-generational ones are the best.
Having events or creating rituals builds resilience.
As a parent, you cannot help your child learn to be resilient unless you let them take responsibility for their own growth process. Learning from your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins is vital for your children. It is one way to make sure they understand the importance of family connections.
These times of connections can be priceless. Some families are lucky enough to get to do tri-generational family vacations.
Julia’s top Five Books for Families on Grandparent’s Day
- HALMONI’S DAY – by Edna Coe Bercaw
About a Korean-American girl who is self-conscious about bringing her different-seeming grandmother to school on Grandparent’s Day.
- To Grandma’s House We…Stay – by Sally Houtman
This is a very wise and helpful book, especially for families headed by grandparents. Ms. Houtman tells it like it is, saying “The fact is, families are changing. We can either bail with all our might or look for a lifeboat.” You’ll definitely find plenty of life preservers in Ms. Houtman’s writings.
- I Don’t Want To Talk About It – By Jeanie Franz Ransom features a comprehensive afterword that describes children’s common reactions to divorce and offers parents suggestions for helping their own children adjust and thrive. Grandparents are vital when a family is going through a divorce.
- My Grandma Lives at the Airport – by Rebecca Rudner is about keeping families connected when they live far apart. Author Rebecca Rudner shows how absent family members can stay present in the hearts and minds of young children. The story is about Shelby, who concludes that Grandma must live at the airport because that is where she and her parents always pick Grandma up when Grandma comes to visit.
- The Gifts of being Grand by Marianne Richmond acknowledges the grand people whose love and care we treasure…and who truly celebrate the grand little people in their lives.
My children were blessed with having two grandparents that they collected memories with for a long time. Being expat children they have been able to keep in touch with both and see them often. Many family vacations would happen when they would come to see us in our overseas assignments or we would visit their homes in the summer time.
Grandma Wright – Grand Marshall
The annual Old Settlers Day Celebration in Russell Springs, Kansas starts off with a church service than the parade. After the Parade, the annual Cowchip throwing contest is held.
Tahoe if a time for us to go fishing, sit on the beach or play lawn bowling games.
This year we got to celebrate Grandpa’s 86th birthday. One of the highlights was a whiskey tasting at Incline Wine and Spirits.
Notes: A great grand parenting book is: If I Knew it was going to be this much fun I would have become a Grandparent First by Willard Scott. It has short stories from Phyllis Diller, Phil Donahue, Mike Wallace, Stephen Covey, Maureen Stapleton and many more.