GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 15
Check out these books
by Leonard Sax, M.D.
There has been an explosion in the proportion of young
Americans who are anxious, depressed, and disengaged. I have
become convinced that the breaking of bonds across generations
is a major factor driving the rapid rise in the incidence of young
people who are unhappy and adrift. It's not the whole story, but
it's an important part. Parents, however loving they may be, can't
do it alone, and they don't do it alone in any enduring culture of
which we have any substantial record. It takes a village: it takes
aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
My wife and I were married for 15 years before we had our first
child. We thought we were infertile. We were wrong. After our
one and only daughter was born, I invited my wife's parents to
move in with us (my parents are both dead). We have been living
together in the same home now for ten years.
But despite our differences, we are
joined in our love for my daughter,
My background is about as different as can be from my wife's
parents' background. I was raised in a suburb of Cleveland Ohio;
MAY JUNE 2018
they were both raised in rural south-central Pennsylvania. Our
family bought our food at a grocery store in the city; they raised
much of their food in their own gardens, and raised chickens, which
they ate. I like sushi, and gefilte fish. They don't. They like scrapple,
and chipped beef on toast. I don't. They once asked me if I knew
how to pick up potatoes. I answered, "Sure, you just go to the grocery store and pick up a bag of potatoes." I didn't understand that
they were asking about getting potatoes out of the ground.
I know that my Sarah has benefited enormously from having
her Grandma and Grandpa in our home, which is also their home.
And it now seems so natural, it's odd sometimes to recall that our
family arrangement - three generations under one roof - is now
unusual in the United States.
I realize that our arrangement can't be copied by everybody.
But I encourage parents to get the grandparents involved as
much as possible - not just at holidays, but throughout the year.
Create rituals and pastimes that grandparents and grandkids can
do together. Grandma teaches my daughter Sarah sewing, and
Sarah teaches Grandma how to use the computer. And Grandpa
and Grandpa both help Sarah to plant her seedlings in the
garden. Good things are growing there.
It may not always be easy. But it can be done. And it's worth
Leonard Sax, MD Ph.D. is a family doctor, psychologist,
and the author of four books for parents. He and
his family live in Chester County, Pennsylvania. More
information is online here.
GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018
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