I have fond memories of my grandparents and the times I spent at their home each summer. Our family ate watermelon and cantaloupe freshly picked from local farms. My brother and I ran around the yard and caught fireflies as the mourning doves cooed in the trees. If I close my eyes, I can smell the sweet aroma of the corn on the cob steaming in the burlap bags on the fire pit.
I was so blessed to spend as much time with my grandparents as I did. They lived long lives. In fact, they were able to meet all three of my children before they passed away. When I think about them today, I still get a little sad — not because they are gone, but because as a child, as a teen, and even as a young adult, I didn’t take the time to get to know them… I mean really know them.
Sure, I could piece together a history from my father and his cousins, but it’s not the same as hearing my grandparents tell their own stories. I can’t tell you how they met or where they lived before they bought the house my dad grew up. I don’t know how my grandmother felt when her sweetheart went off to war or what my grandfather missed most about his work after he retired.
I hope my children don’t have the same regrets as I do. One of the ways to prevent that is to teach them to take as much interest in their grandparents as they do a new friend. When they spend time together, they can ask questions about them and their life experiences. When our busy lives and distance don’t allow for us to see each other, they can still talk on the phone or chat on video calls. If that’s not possible, they can exchange e-mails and handwritten letters to each other.
Here’s a handful of questions that will get the conversation started:
- Describe one of your most memorable birthdays.
- What is your earliest memory?
- What television programs did you watch as a child?
- What things do you think you cannot live without?
- What is your favorite family tradition?
- What three words do you think best describe our family?
- What traits do you most admire in other people?
- What are the three most interesting things about you?
- What is the best job you ever had?
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
- If you could have a conversation with anyone in history, who would it be?
I am pretty sure they will love answering these questions. I know I would if my children or grandchildren asked them of me!
These conversation starters work great for older kids, but what about younger ones who might not be ready to interview their grandparents?
One great way your young ones can begin to cultivate respect and honor for their grandparents is to read the book The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Gramps and Gran by Mike Berenstain. In the latest book in The Berenstain Bears Living Lights series, Grandparents Day is quickly approaching, and the Bear family are getting ready to celebrate. This holiday is new to the family, but the cubs, with a little help from Mama and Papa, come up with a fun and creative way to show Gramps and Gran just how much they are loved and appreciated.
We often take the people closest to us for granted, especially grandparents, who we may have known all our lives. But we don’t have to wait until they are gone to appreciate them. We can honor those we love when we intentionally invest time into our relationship with them. I hope that no matter how young or old our kids are they can understand the precious gift they have in their family members, especially their grandparents.
This year Grandparents Day falls on Sunday, September 10th.
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What are your ideas to celebrate and honor your grandparents as well as your parents with your children?
We’d love to hear from you in the comments!