What are your core values? Are you a military family? Does your family still hold to those deeply patriotic values? Maybe you have profound faith, one that you want to pass on to your children, and your grandchildren. For some, passing those values down through the generations is their most important life’s work.
The harsh reality is that we will not be here for the entirety of our grandchildren’s lives. So what we leave them is vitally important. When you think about it, its the only way we can spend the rest of their lives with them.
The values we leave them with, can guide them long after they are able to call us.
We don’t realize how much influence we have on our grandchildren. It’s different from with their parents. Their parents are responsible for making sure they get their homework done, and get along with siblings.
Your role, usually, is to simply enjoy their company. The more relaxed, unstructured the better. When you think about it, what a blessing for a child it must be in today’s world. Where everything from early morning to after school activities are structured and supervised by adults.
When their guard is down, relaxed and unstructured, that’s when life really happens. That’s when you have the best opportunities to share your values.
Listen closely. Sometimes, you need to hear what they are not saying.
You’ve often heard the saying, “read between the lines.” When we are talking with our grandchildren, its so much more important for us to listen carefully.
Remember in their world, an adult listening–really tuning in–is rare. It says to a child that they have worth. In fact, it says that you value them so much, that you want to know what they think, and how they feel. Listening brings trust.
Share your stories.
We have stories of our family (and children) when the were little. Nothing brings more interest to a child than hearing great stories about her own mom or dad. In doing so, you can illustrate points that you want to make. Better yet, you can turn your stories into parables for your grandchildren.
Who doesn’t have a treasure trove of life experiences after raising their children? More importantly, what better and more attentive audience for those stories than your grandchildren?
These stories don’t have to be grand, or have an Aesop’s type “moral of the story.”
Don’t discount sharing stories of hard times. That’s where your values are easily seen by your grandchildren.
The stories my grandfather told me of raising my mother and her five siblings through the Great Depression, never had a happy ending. They were poor. They worked hard. But the values I saw, as he retold his struggles, gave me strength many years later raising my own children.
Not only will I pass down my own children’s stories, but also, my grandparents’ stories. But in them, is where I received my treasure trove of family values.
What about you? Would you can to share one story in the comments that you hope to pass down through your generations?