“To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.” (Chinese proverb)
Antique little boys and girls at home who dote on you – you are lucky if you remember having or still have grandparents. While it’s highly likely that you may not stay with them for a large part of your childhood, developing a strong relationship with your grandparents, all too eager to love, will leave you with joyful memories and valuable life lessons. They are your dependable emotional safety nets. Unlike parents, they can connect with you on a deeper level. Any day, they can be your best companions and true well-wishers. With them, home becomes homely, a safe and nurturing space where you can grow and feel loved.
It takes only a little effort to win the affections of your grandpa or grandma. And it is going to be a very special relationship that you will treasure all your life. Follow these simple steps to create a bond or strengthen an already existing bond. Remember these lovely people will not live forever. Cherish them while you can.
- Keep regular contact with them, through phone or letters, updating them on all news of yourself. Invite them for important days/events in your life like birthday, graduation, performance. Visit them if you stay away, on weekends or an afternoon or over summer vacation.
- Find out what their interests and passions are. Make your leisure times together exciting by engaging in shared hobbies like gardening, reading, playing board/card games, looking after pet animals, fishing, swimming, stamp collecting etc.
- You can talk to them about anything and ask for opinions, ideas and advice. They listen to you closely, takes all your feelings seriously without criticizing and responds satisfactorily to all your concerns. They offer unending encouragement and support to everything that matters to you most. Now you know who to go to for boosting self-esteem.
- Since they are in no rush in their daily life, plan outdoor activities with them, like trips to grocery store, temple, beach/park, aquarium, museum, library, a nature walk, a daily hike. You’ll find they have a lot of interesting things to talk about.
- Having decades of living experience in the world, they will certainly have some admirable wisdom and skills which you can ask them to teach you. It could be cooking, carpentry, sewing, knowledge of another language or matters of commonplace existence. In return you can teach them something that they don’t know like how to send an e-mail or how to play Angry Birds.
- They are a rich source of information about your family history and traditions. It is wonderful to feel part of a large extended family and have an identity in your family history.
- They can entertain you with stories, moral, mythical, of their past when ‘things were different’, anecdotes starting with ‘when I was your age’, how they grew up, things they had or didn’t have, how your parents were as children etc.
- Don’t exploit them for loving you unconditionally by insisting on satisfying your every whim. Do not overindulge your grandparents or your own parents will be jealous and cut down your times spent together. Give them some quiet hours and adequate resting time. Remember they are getting old and weak in constitution.
- Be respectful of their beliefs, political and religious. If you avoid them just like that, it makes them unhappy. Also do not shout on them. It helps to foster healthier attitudes to aging and older people in general.
- Be helpful as and when necessary. Buy them something they need. Visit them with fruits if they are ill. Do something gracious for them in front of others, they will be proud of you.
- Keep photographs, audio/video recordings of your happy times together to cherish when you’re apart. Get them hand-written letters and thank-you notes in return for gifts.