If I knew they would be so great I would have had them first!
Being a parent is a wonderful yet very challenging thing. Many parents would agree it is both the hardest and best experience in all of life.
I do not disagree.
Seeing your kids grow up and eventually become parents themselves brings about another special thing: grandchildren!
When families have multiple generations involved in the raising of children it brings great perspectives to life. Life story experiences, support and additional helping hands are just a few of the benefits.
Many of today's grandparents are living longer and they have more time to contribute to their grandchildren's lives.
The babyboomer wave includes the incredible amount of grandparents who are now in their golden years and eager to help their children while enjoying their grandkids.
There is a special responsibility as grandparents, to be supportive, helpful while not overstepping our place in their lives.
Parents need to be the ones who have the bond that shows both nurturing and encouragement while also holding their kids accountable.
We should all want our children to be safe. So if there is any danger from any family member it is the right of others to step in. However in healthy families the grandparents should be the elders who let the parents learn and grow from the big job of parenting.
I greatly enjoy the time I get to spend with my grandson (12) and granddaughter (9). My wife and I are actively involved in their lives and so very grateful to be living near them.
Perhaps it is natural in life that as we age we learn and grow in life. And as a result we have more to offer the next generations.
Of course it's not easy and as obvious to make the best choices. Life always has challenges that take great patience, insight and love to steer us through.
We are needed now more than ever (see this article from GRANDmagazine.com).
Look for places of support and inspiration for sharing your love and your life stories with your grandchildren, such as I'm A Story, a site that encourages you to write and share your experiences, especially between grandparents and grandchildren, something that co-creator Rolland Love regularly encourages through his talks and writing.
If the points I've made in this article are not enough to inspire you to have more grandparent involvement, check out this article about the health benefits of Having (and Being) Grandparents from U.S.News.