From our Grandparents’ Circle Steering Committee: Kay Beffa, Diane Sikes, Lilia “Toots” Bromley, Theresa Coughlin and Maryann McGuirk, who have been meeting regularly for the past year to create opportunities to honor and involve our grandparents and special friends in meaningful ways at Sea Crest.
Italian Proverb ~“If nothing is going well, call your grandparents.” As with many proverbs handed down through the generations, this one seems to have some truth!
Grandparents are very important people in the lives of their grandchildren and adult children. “The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is second in emotional importance only to the relationship between parent and child,” according to Dr. Karl Pillemer of Cornell University. Having grandparents involved in the lives of children offers tremendous benefits, for both the grandchildren and the grandparents.
Dr. Pillemer writes, “Research shows that as many as 9 out of 10 adult grandchildren feel their grandparents influenced their values and behaviors. Grandparents transmit to their grandchildren the values and norms of social order.”
Sea Crest School welcomes grandparents on campus and their active involvement with their grandchildren’s school life – by volunteering in the classroom, on field trips, and in activities planned by our Grandparents’ Circle. We interviewed these wonderful grandparents to learn more about they connect with their grandchildren, what lessons they hope to teach them and if they have some advice to offer other grandparents. Here are some excerpts:
What activities do you do to connect with your grandchildren?
“We write together, we are writing a book together. We share the love of music, we travel together, (he is) my best pal. I don’t see my older (grandchildren) often, but we communicate.”
“They are paying more attention to texting. If I need to make a connection, I text them. They respond quickly. People complain about texting and new tech, but I like it because it’s instant and an advantage to stay closer.”
“Making yourself available for whatever is needed: pickups, Drs’ appointments… parents are busy. I always try to be there for them.”
“Being on call. He invited me to go to the movies and paid with his card.”
Do you have long-distance grandchildren? How do you connect with them?
“I have 10-12 yr old grandchildren in LA and I created a fund for them. I also gave them a diary to write down how they are using their money. I’m trying to teach them money management.”
“I sent my granddaughters a treasure card. One of them bought an Apple watch. We spoil them, but we teach them.”
“We travel together every year to Tahoe. We create opportunities to have the whole family together if it can happen.”
What values or lessons do you hope to teach your grandchildren?
“They always teach me something.”
“I believe in the Asian philosophy that passing on my values to reflect them who they are. If you are stubborn and passionate, I like to reflect back what you see and teach them to get to know themselves and stand up for who they are. It’s priceless for both.”
What advice do you have for other grandparents?
“Have one-on-one, thoughtful relationships.”
“Give them their own space, especially those (who live) nearby. I always call first.”
“Not to step on the parents’ toes. I’m always careful when giving advice to my grandchildren. You can’t be judgmental.”
“Parents need to vent, but sometimes they are not asking for advice. They are just sharing. They don’t need us to say anything, just listen.”
“Be engaged. This is what we are here for now. Help raise healthy children. Make them feel they are important. Our grandkids’ independence is admirable and deserves respect.”
The relationship between these generations offers an important marker for the kids: “A chance to be aware of themselves in the long generational line of people that led to them! “, said Diane Sikes to conclude the lovely conversation.