Previous generations provide countless sources of wisdom. Over the years they have lived learned. Some encounter love and may endure loss. Older family members offer humor and sage advice. Grandparents offer a brand of familial compassion that’s different from what parents provide. All of these traits and more actually make grandparents very important – even necessary – for children.
Hindsight sees 20-20. Living in the moment, we don’t always realize the experiences, knowledge, and memories we accumulate with our grandparents. Only when looking back with nostalgia can we appreciate just how much those older family members do. Here are some of the ways grandparents are actually very helpful towards childhood development.
Grandparents can offer affection more freely
Often, grandparents don’t have to be the final stern voice of reason for a kid. The parents can lecture and instruct. But grandparents can have more leeway. By this point in their lives, older family members usually have themselves comfortably situated. Now, they can relax and hopefully also teach their grandchildren to relax as well.
But when things are serious, grandparents offer a strong shoulder to lean on. Sometimes, they are the best authority figure to turn to because the person a kid is in trouble with is their own parents. In cases like these, a grandparent offers an outside source of support.
With age comes experience
Some people’s trepidations increase as their age does the same. But older family members provide something valuable with all the years they’ve been on this earth. They’ve experienced a bit of everything. Not only have they gone through most major life stages, but they’ve had plenty of time to learn and accumulate more experiences.
Each successive year presents new obstacles to address, trends to follow, questions to ponder. But there are many commonalities between the passing generations that a grandparent’s wisdom is valuable no matter the year. It’s a new source of ideas that’s close to home. Who wouldn’t want to use that?
Reciprocity is a beautiful thing
Over 7.53 billion people live on our planet. That’s a lot of different experiences and an equal amount of unique perspectives. With so many opportunities to learn, that makes the learning process itself one of reciprocity.
Just as grandparents guide the younger generation, kids can feel satisfied knowing they inspire a sense of renewed fun in their grandparents. Any chance of lowing down becomes a bit easier to resist when living with a lively soul like a young child. And that same child can feel encouraged to keep up this inspiring dynamic with a sense of accomplishment and pride.
They’re that special presence that’s always there
Distance makes the heart grow fonder – or simply has no negative effects on a relationship. Such is the case between grandparent and grandchild. Instead, they are a consistent source of support regardless of any geographic distance. One phone call can have that assuring voice speaking words of wisdom to you.
Alternatively, and just as importantly, they can simply offer a listening ear. Being able to simply talk and share emotions has its own values. Vocalizing emotions helps work through them, sometimes without any other words of advice – though a grandparent will have plenty to share when the occasion calls. Now more than ever it’s important to celebrate grandparents and the wisdom they provide. So, when Grandparents Day comes this September, be sure to appreciate these loving, sage sources of care.