Our parents can provide our children with some unique life lessons.
Intergenerational learning is a lost art. It used to be that we picked up all our life skills by watching our parents or grandparents, but in this era, our children’s primary source of information is school. As a result, we have lost valuable lessons about everything from cooking to mechanics.
The good news is that we as parents can enrich our children’s lives by encouraging them to access one of the most valuable resources at their disposal: their grandparents. Here are a few easy ways to think about enhancing the lives of both our parents and our children.
Take the time. Every week, if not more, the kids should make a call, write a letter or visit. Parents can facilitate this as a matter of course for families that live close together by keeping communication with both kids and grandparents on what activity they would like to do and planning accordingly.
Special Skills. Does grandpa hunt or fish? Does grandma bake or sew? Maybe the both do all these things, and can impart needlework or flyfishing. Sometimes, we as their children don’t even know about some of our parents’ secret skills. And what a gift to give the next generation.
Cut Costs. There are ways in which our older children can help tend to the yard, take out the trash, help repaint or do other odd jobs that may save the grandparents time and money. Conversely, grandparents can watch the kids and they are usually happy to do it instead of a babysitter.
Make a Family Tree. This is a project that the whole family can get into, by going through the photo albums and whipping out the art supplies. It is a great life lesson for kids to see a bit of their ancestry and a nice opportunity for the grandparents to tell some stories and take a walk down memory lane.
The more we include our parents in the family conversation, meet them half way, and explore ways for our kids to broaden their relationship to their grandparents, the stronger the family as a whole becomes. It sets us up for more joy and more ability to take life’s tough obstacles. And it helps our children be more compassionate, well-rounded people.