Grandparents in Our Society

There is nothing quite like being assigned to write on a subject that is as subjective as this one! The opportunity for grandparents to have influence in the rearing of grandchildren varies significantly from family to family. It is increasingly evidence that the great influence of grandparents of other societies and in other times had diminished in ours. This is sad indeed, because our children are the losers and suffer much as the result. While this trend seems to be entrenched, we would be wise to make maximum efforts to place as many roadblocks in the path as possible.
Grandparents’ influence is at its greatest during the children’s most receptive years. This provides the greatest opportunity for the exercising of life-lasting principles in the child. It also demands that grandparents be alert, or otherwise the opportunities will be lost forever. This period is short indeed and, typically, abates rapidly as the children begin their school years. Sports and friends seem to have increasingly important places in their lives. Grandparents can extend the influential period, to a degree, by being active in the child’s school and sports activities; and unless you have tried it, you have no idea how much fun it is! But, let me warn you, it is not for the fainthearted; have a cardiologist check you well before attending their sports activities.
Prior to the industrial age, grandparents enjoyed a more important roll in the life of children. Typically, they lived nearby and often on the same farm or in the same small town. Many shared homes with their children and grandchildren. With industrialization of the 1900s, which continues today, patterns and life-styles changed. Distance became increasingly involved as the great separator. Children left the farm and small towns. Separated from the younger family members, the grandparents’ influence decreased – often to zero. What a shame! Family relationships became less and less involved and the benefits of experience were…