GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 27

grandparent legacy

2. Listen with your full being.

Truly listening is a full-body action. The sound
comes in our ears, but we must open our hearts and
suspend judgment, too. And we need to release fear.
When our grandchild confides that they are sure to
flunk their test, our knee-jerk response is to assure
them they won't. "Oh, that's silly," we say. "You are so
smart!" We mean it and believe it, but now, on top of
everything else, we have minimized their feelings in
that moment.
While it may be uncomfortable for us, what happens if we go down that route with them? "And then
what?" may be the best question, to simply guide
them to sharing more, rather than trying to solve it.

3. Relishing the "in between
times."

Don't expect a child to plan ahead or waive a sign
when they are ready to talk. Some of the most meaningful interactions come off the cuff. Offer to drive
your grandchildren to school or practices. It's the in
between times, when you are not actually "doing"
something that grandkids may share the most.
In fact, studies show children are more apt to
share when you are side by side, as in driving (for
older grandchildren, who can sit up front) or taking
a walk.

4. No more "What? You're too
busy to call your grandma?"

I've written before about the idea of "mature love,"
having the confidence to know that you are loved.
As grandchildren age and calls or visits may become
less frequent, don't spend the time together lamenting "Why haven't you called me?" Dive right in with
what's happening, ask "how are you feeling?" Follow
27 GRAND

MAY JUNE 2018

their activities on the school website so you can ask
real questions about what's important to them.
Ask about them and share about you. Give them
a sense of what your day-to-day life is like so they
can enter your world as well. What clues do we
grandparents give our grandchildren about who we
are? And how do we 'curate' what we want to share
about our lives to truly engage?
Our grandchildren are shouting clues to their
world all the time. It's in their body posture. It's on
their school website, in their activities. Clues lie in
things their parents say. In things their parents don't
say.
How do we read the clues? How do we listen
without teaching or judging? It's like pulling teeth
sometimes to get them to talk. But we don't
need permission to read what they are reading in
school. We don't need permission to love them
unconditionally.
And a final note to parents of teenagers-these
tips are not just for grandparents. It's about anyone
who wants to have a deeper relationship with
anyone.

Jerry Witkovsky, author of
The Grandest Love is a longtime social work professional,
grandparenting activist, and
passionate grandpa. Jerry
offers fresh approaches to
help grandparents enter
their grandchild's world, to leave values, not just
valuables and create a living legacy. Jerry created the
Grandparent-Grandchild Connection School Program
and curricula with Deanna Shoss, President & CEO of
Intercultural Talk, Inc., in 2016, to work with schools as
the platform to teach grandparents and grandchildren
how to enter each other's world. Learn more here


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GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018

Contents
GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 1
GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 2
GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 3
GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - July/August 2018 - 5
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