The hands-on grandfathering approach


Dear Grandparenting: When you hear people start to talk about their wonderful grandparents, the next thing you hear is how some kindly grandmother devotes her life to her grandchildren, etc.

You won’t hear much about the grandfathers, as if guys like me are helpless, incapable or unwilling to change a smelly diaper, do that baby talk stuff and so on.

I get it. It’s because of the good old maternal instinct that men don’t have. But I’m here to bust that myth wide open. My wife does her thing with cooking and soothing and such, but I do most of the hands-on stuff with our grandkids and I can’t get enough. When I’m around, they want Granddaddy Hal to tuck them in at night.

So how about putting in the occasional good word for the grandfathers of this world? I’ve had it with people thinking we’re expendable. Hey, we’re grand too! Hal Pugh, Dayton

Dear Hal: There’s good reason for supposing grandmothers carry the weight. Since day one, the care and feeding of children has been women’s work while men provided and protected.

Myths surround the grandparenting experience. Some would have you believe one can never get enough of the grandkids. Others swear grandchildren automatically adore their grandparents. Implying grandfathers don’t measure up as caregivers is another piece of fiction.

Sure, some excuse themselves from diaper duty, or won’t chase after grandkids. But grandfathers are in greater demand than ever. Many serve as father figures for single mothers and uprooted youngsters. And with more mothers working, grandmothers and grandfathers alike help meet the needs of their families at large.

Grandfathers can play second fiddle for infants and toddlers, only to emerge as a force in a grandchild’s subsequent growth and development. Anchor, role model, teacher, confidant, mentor, fishing buddy and best friend of the moment. Now what was that about expendable?

Grand remark of the week

Debbie Storer from Lady Lake, Florida says her grandchildren “are my reward for not hanging my own kids up by their ears when they teens. They tested me every day.”

Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.

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