GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021 - 25

grandparenting
Be a world opener for your grandkids!
BY RICHARD AND LINDA EYRE
Helping your grandkids become citizens of the world
Kids today have access to the whole world-on their screens and smartphones and
on Google. But that virtual world is not the same as the real world, and sometimes
grandparents can be the portal through which their grandchildren experience (and
learn to think accurately and broadly about) the places and the breadth of the planet
they actually live on.
You can be their oracle, in a way, not only through the stories you tell them, but
through the things you show them and the places you actually take them.
Here are a couple of examples that may spark your ideas:
Traveling together
Almost any kind of travel, particularly with a reasonably knowledgeable
grandparent(s), can be a world-opener. Take your grandkids to places you love,
whether those places are art galleries or amusement parks or hunting lodges. Share
your passions geographically. One-on-one trips are usually best, although if you
have a couple of grandkids roughly the same age, you can certainly take them
together.
And besides taking them to places that interest you and arouse your passions,
find out what places might feed into your grandkids' current interests. See which
of their interests lend themselves to a particular place or experience, and try to find
locations where a little grandfather-grandchild trip might be appropriate and fun.
Too often the time we spend with grandkids is in little bursts-a quick visit, a
meal together, a movie, or a little outing. These short-exposure events do not lend
themselves to deep communication or to gradually rising trust levels. The inherent
value of travel, particularly with just you and one or two grandkids, is that travel
time is conversation and communication time, and the longer you are together, the
more relaxed the atmosphere becomes and the more feelings and attitudes manifest
themselves as trust grows.
Humanitarian expeditions
While it can be great fun to take a grandchild to an sporting event or a resort,
it is even more fun and vastly more educational to take that same grandchild to a
part of the world that is way out of her comfort zone and that opens his eyes to the
bigger world, particularly the third-world.
There are numerous nonprofit organizations that orchestrate aid missions and
humanitarian projects in various parts of the world and design these expeditions
specifically for family participation. Many readers will be familiar with Habitat for
Humanity, where families can go for a week or even a long weekend to build
affordable housing for poor families in Mexico or other areas where there is high
need for very basic shelter.
25 GRAND Summer 2021
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GRAND Magazine - Summer 2021

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