Dear Grandparenting: Thanksgiving is coming and I’m looking forward to catching up with my grandchildren. It’s the one time the whole family comes together.
Last year left something to be desired and it still bothers me. When I asked my grandchildren what they were grateful for, I got the distinct impression they were most grateful for the fact that Thanksgiving was about over, which meant that Christmas was around the corner.
There was no mention of all their blessings or concern for the less fortunate. My grandchildren were too busy comparing notes about what they wanted their parents to buy when the sales kick in the day after Thanksgiving. And when our family said grace before the meal, my grandchildren sort of hung back and mumbled the words. Whatever happened to the true spirit of Thanksgiving? Jimmy Burkowski, Fruitland Park, Florida
Dear Jimmy: We all have reason to be thankful. Those with unmet wants can be grateful for needs that are met, those feeling less fortunate thankful for misfortunes they escaped. Tens of millions around the world go to sleep wondering what horror the morning will bring.
But grandchildren can be hard pressed to summon up the spirit of thanks as families struggle to adjust to the restrictions, isolation and economic uncertainties of the COVID pandemic.
This is where grandparents can make a real difference. According to an American Psychological Association study, seniors develop enhanced levels of equanimity and wellbeing not found in younger adults — an attitude of gratitude, shown to reduce stress and boost the immune system. Thanksgiving doesn’t just serve up turkey and ham. Grandparents serve as living proof that gratitude works.
Grand remark of the week
Robert Little from Baltimore, MD has “two passions. I love to fish and I love my three grandchildren.”
So when people ask how he spends his days, Robert is ready. “I tell them I’m hooked on my grandchildren and do a little fishing on the side.”