Opening Insights: The Circle of Life
Throughout our lifetime we play many roles. We are children, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, neighbors, employees and so on. Perhaps one of the most poignant and dynamic roles is that of the Grandparent.
Grandparents are able to offer their years of insight and wisdom as a means for guiding others (specifically children) in a direction of self-discovery.
Informational Insights: The Role of Grandparents
According to Arthur Kornhaber, M.D., president and founder of the Foundation for Grandparenting, there are 11 roles Grandparents play in a family.
Some of these roles include:
Buddy – Many Grandparents assume the role of a pal, secret confidante, and a light-hearted conspirator. As a result, grandchildren often feel more comfortable discussing sensitive issues with a Grandparent than with their own parents.
Hero – Although the hero role can be a literal one if you have fought in or lived through wars or other extreme hardships, Grandparents may also be a hero to a grandchild or young adult just for the fact that they endured for many years or that they stepped in to rescue or help your grandchild in a time of need. Being a hero gives a grandchild someone to model his or her life after and someone to inspire them.
Historian – As a Grandparent, you are the living witness to the history of your own time, in addition to that of your [potential] ancestors. This gives the grandchild a sense of “we,” solidifying the fact that he or she belongs to a family unit – something bigger than themselves – and gives him or her a sense of safety and security.
Mentor – Grandparents are often cheerleaders, inspiring their grandchild’s imagination and their dreams, nurturing their spirit, and encouraging their intellectual growth while giving them a sense of self-worth. Grandparents are especially effective as teachers because their unconditional love makes the grandchild feel safe and comfortable and loved for who they are, not how they perform.
Spiritual Guide – Your role as a spiritual guide to your grandchildren can help teach them to value and achieve spiritual rewards such as love, tolerance, compassion, reverence, joy, peace, gentleness, faith and kindness. By acting in a moral, ethical, and honest manner Grandparents set an example for grandchildren to emulate.
Gems of the Earth
Grandpas in particular play a special role in society.
As trusted and respected adults, they are viewed as an emblem of wisdom and strength. Their strong weathered hands show a sensitivity to life’s many storms. At heart they are young, full of stories, and full of memories. They teach others about value by simply being who they are.
Grandpas are often compared to teddy bear or a lion. If you think about it, both carry a lot of merit. Just as the teddy bear, the warm, tender love from a Grandpa is like no other. Strong, safe, comforting and understanding. Love can be given and received without need for words or explanation. Further, just as a lion perched on the mountaintop, a Grandpa’s eyes sees all, he listens with intent, he hears truth in the wind, he senses the next moment coming.
Grandpas are living history. Grandpas are storytellers with the patience and compassion only time can give. Having attained much, Grandpas are often an ideal model of what mature love between two adults can be — love being the state of exchanging:
- Attention – seeing all of a person (not just the part we want to see)
- Respect – accepting all of a person (not judging others or trying to change them); and
- Appreciation – valuing all of a person (not just one dimension)
In many ways, Grandpas gracefully live the words of the great poet Kahlil Gibran…
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Horizons are the Wisdom of Yesterday and The Direction of Tomorrow
Different from the parent, the Grandpa’s perspective is based on understanding two horizons – the horizon behind us and the horizon in front of us.
In the horizon behind us, a Grandpa’s insight tells us not just what happened but why it happened. In the horizon in front of us, a Grandpa’s insight provides the world of possibilities… the world of what could be based upon the decisions that will be made.
It is from these two perspectives, working in parallel harmony, that today’s young adventurers will find a Grandpa (by blood or discovery) and explore the fullness of life together.
Through this process, each discovers and receives the richness of life. For the young adventurer it is for the first time. For the Grandpa it is the fullness of life …again. Both the young adventurer and the Grandpa win. And someday, the young adventurer will re-live life once again as a Grandpa.
A Note from Grandpa Richard
My life’s journey has been an interesting one. I know that we meet people along the way that either take away from our life, or add to our life. Regardless of the outcome, many lessons are learned and insight is gained.
Often times people ask me how it is that I have embraced (and endured) ALL the experiences that make up my 76 years of life – the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
Early in my life I obtained much. Money and power were my life force. Yet in the world of celebrities and leer jets, fear and control held me hostage.
The key was not obtainment but rather attainment. My wealth of real life experiences and information to share cannot be found in any textbook or at any seminar. My wisdom is merely a result of the mistakes I made and the value I have found.
I am a simple man. My roots are not just that of a family tree, but a mankind tree.
I hope this blog provides for others a link to the past, purpose in the present moment and wisdom to the light the path of the future.
Join me on my journey of insight…
Welcome to A Grandpa’s Blog.
Possibilities for Consideration: Have a Grandpa, Be a Grandpa
Many of us have had the experience of having grandparents. Those of us who had (or still have) the grandparent experience, may never have learned how to relate, communicate or learn from them, as we seem to be living in different centuries and speaking different languages.
Some of us may be grandparents and seek to share our wisdom and insight with our grandchildren in hopes that they learn from our mistakes and blaze a new path – continuing and expanding our legacy. Yet, the reality is we have no idea how to get our grandchildren’s attention in a way that they:
- Partner With
- Learn and Discover
- Apply, Experience and Assess
What if there was a way to bridge these generational divides, would you be interested…?
Take a moment and examine…
- As you reviewed the material above, what stood out to you?
- What is the potential impact, economically and/or socially?
- What action is needed to stop or support this idea?
- You may want to consider whether you:
- want to be aware of,
- should become supportive of,
- would want to be active in this topic?
Add Your Insight
A child needs a grandparent, anybody’s grandparent,
to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world.
CHARLES AND ANN MORSE