This Sunday is National Grandparents Day and to celebrate, I've compiled a list of the eight reasons I think grandparents are beyond fabulous:
- They're grand role models. This generation of grandparents rocks, but not in a chair on the front porch. Today's Grandma and Grandpa live more active, interesting lives than any generation before. They've been there, done that - and they've brought the grandkids T-shirts to prove it. Their values, skills and life experience make them people to look up to.
- They're happy to give. Studies show that grandparents are generous with financial support for grandchildren, despite a recession or a fixed income. Grandchildren's needs are very high on their list of priorities; millions pay for basic needs, such as housing, health care and education.
- They provide a buffer. An old joke says grandparents and grandchildren get along so well because they have a common enemy (parents!). While that may be going a bit far, there is something special about that skipped-generation relationship.
- They're willing to listen. Grandparents generally have more patience and time to focus on anything and everything their grandchildren say. They really get it - we have two ears and one mouth for a reason! Kids feel valued when grandparents take time to listen.
- They're a link to our heritage. The family lore my grandparents passed on to me taught me that I come from strong, resilient people who survived hardships I can't even imagine. Knowing this makes me feel grounded and confident I can deal with almost anything.
- They lend a strong helping hand. Grandparents provide a great deal of child care for grandchildren, and many live with and/or raise grandchildren. They quit jobs, move across country and make sacrifices to be available - that's love in action.
- They're living history. I remember my grandfather telling me stories about his adventures homesteading, working on the railroad, CCC camps, WWI and WWII. He brought those times to life for me. Nothing beats firsthand experience.
- They adore - and indulge. Grandparents feel that "spoiling" a child is a hard-earned benefit of being a grandparent. Every kid deserves someone in their life who takes great pleasure in delighting them.
Whether you're a grandparent yourself, or are lucky enough to have grandparents in your life, I suspect you can add to this list. Why do you think grandparents rock?!
Photo: Sean Dreilinger
Amy Goyer is AARP's home and family expert; she splits her time between Washington and Phoenix, where she lives with and cares for her parents. Her new book, AARP's Juggling Work and Caregiving, will be published this fall. Follow Amy on Twitter @amygoyer and on Facebook.
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