I’ve had an opportunity to speak with a lovely lady and a wonderful grandma who has shared some of her own insights on being a grandparent. I hope you’ll enjoy it reading, as much as I did during the interview.
What does being a grandparent feel like?
Being a grandparent has been one of the most enriching experiences in my life. It’s somehow a different feeling than being a parent. Since you’re not the one who makes the rules for children’s upbringing, you have a much relaxed relationship with your grandkids. On numerous occasions, they would come and confide in me the way that they couldn’t in their parents. Not that they don’t have a close relationship, but being a parent is a much greater responsibility. Grandparents are more like “wise” friends to their grandchildren. I have a strong bond with my grandkids. I give them advice, listen to them and often even cover for them. It’s also a relationship of mutual learning and teaching. Sometimes I even think that I’ve learnt more from them than they from me. It’s funny how those innocent creatures who are just beginning to discover the world can teach you valuable life lessons.
Is the generational gap an obstacle in your relationship?
Although age differences can be a major hindrance to relationships, in our case, the generational gap represents a whole new world to be explored. During all these years, I’ve had an opportunity to learn so much about younger generations. I’ve always been open-minded, so I have always been excited to learn about new trends. My grandkids have shared with me their interests and hobbies that would have otherwise remained unfamiliar to me. I’ve seen experimental movies, listened to new music genres and even attended some interesting events. My grandkids keep me up to date, they always have something new to show me and I’m always eager to learn.
How do you keep up with their tech-oriented generation?
It seems that I’ve learnt about technological devices along with my grandchildren. Since they have been growing up in the era of technology, they’ve had numerous devices over the years. And, of course, each time they got a new one, they would show me all those options and advantages of their smartphones, computers and so on. Thanks to them, I’ve become tech-savvy – I can now shop online, order food via applications, watch my favourite shows online and even share my stories with the world. We communicate online quite frequently since they’ve gone off to college and we don’t see each other that often. They also send me photos of the events they attend, different videos, instant messages and articles that they think I might like. They always take time to help me out with new gadgets that can make my life more functional and easier.
How have your grandkids inspired you?
I’ve always advised my grandchildren to keep working on themselves and finding opportunities for self-development. Over the years, they’ve always explored new fields, expanded their interests and kept working hard to achieve their goals. They’ve come across obstacles, but they’ve never given up. It’s amazing how much value the Millennial generation gives to self-growth. My granddaughter is a hard-working, persistent person who knows what she wants. While in high school, she was researching how to get into Harvard and dedicated a lot of her time to extracurricular activities, additional courses and studying. This has inspired me to keep working on myself. I’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language, but I’ve always found excuses, telling myself that it’s too late. However, seeing my granddaughter working so hard to achieve her goal motivated me to give it a try. And so I did. It isn’t so difficult after all.
How have you changed alongside them?
When I found out that I was going to be a grandma, I was so happy. I couldn’t wait to share blissful moments with my grandchildren. I was thinking about all those things I wanted to teach them and experiences I wanted to share with them. However, as I thought about this, I realised that those little minds will be curious, eager to learn and full of questions. Eventually, we would talk about the issues of morality, the right and wrong, religion, etc. So, I realised that I wouldn’t be able to give them answers because at times I even doubted my belief and attitudes. This has motivated me to learn more about myself. I didn’t want to sound hypocritical or contradictory. If I were going to advise them, I needed to stand by my own convictions, which has led to endless moments of self-reflection and self-exploration.
What is your favourite part of being a grandparent?
Children’s view of the world is so inspiring and hopeful. Unfortunately, as we grow, we gain a different perspective on the world and life, forgetting about all those carefree, fun and hopeful dreams we had when we were young. With my grandchildren, I experienced this all over again. It was as if I were a child again. Once again, I could play like a child, think like a child, dream like a child and feel like a child. No matter how short, these moments made me feel young again and reminded me of the spontaneity of childhood.
All these years spent with my grandkids have taught me so many valuable lessons. Perhaps the most valuable one is cherishing the moments spent with them.