Critter Corner: Celebrate World Grandparents Day this Weekend

Dear Angel,

I just saw that the Pope named this Sunday, July 25, as World Grandparent’s Day. I’m not Catholic, but like the sentiment. What is the day all about and how can we celebrate?

Thanks!

Graham Pah

Dear Graham,

In the United States, National Grandparents’ Day has been recognized by the federal government since 1978 as being on the first Sunday after Labor Day. But now the world has a new day for grandparents and the elderly. In April, a Vatican office announced that the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will be held on July 25, which is this Sunday, and will be held annually on the fourth Sunday of July. This year’s theme is “I am with you always,” which, Pope Francis says in a letter accompanying the announcement, is “a promise of closeness and hope that young and old can mutually share.”

When asked about the new commemorative day, a spokesperson said, “(t)he Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult and challenging time for everyone, but especially elderly people and grandparents who at best were starved of time with their grandchildren for so many months and at worst succumbed to the virus. The confidence of grandparents has been affected by the pandemic and even though the world is gradually opening up again, there is a nervousness amongst many grandparents and elders about returning to the way things were before. They need time, patience, and encouragement.” Hopefully grandparents can see and spend time with their grandchildren once again!

Celebrating World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

The author of “The Strategic Grandparent: Your Most Important (and Fun) Role Yet,” Michael Shaughnessy, 69, “welcomes a day celebrating the unique contribution grandparents can make in their families and community.” Shaughnessy is not only an author of the topic. He also founded “Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.”

He points out that the day is not simply a commemoration of aging, or the value of gained wisdom, perspective and experience for its own sake. “Grandparenting is about a relationship to the younger generation, which makes the day’s focus not only older adults, but also the children and young people they love and influence.”

According to Shaughnessy, “(e)veryone has a value system, and grandparents generally want to see the younger generations adopt and grow in virtues such as honesty, personal integrity, and perseverance.”

Lessons for Grandchildren

According to AARP’s 2018 Grandparents Today National Survey, “almost 96% of 65-year-olds are grandparents, with 50 being the average age an adult becomes a grandparent. More than half of grandparents (52%) “consider themselves a source of wisdom and provide a moral compass on issues such as education, morals and values,” its report states.”

Asked which topic areas grandparents feel comfortable talking about with their grandchildren, “the highest rated topic (53%) was morals or values. Religion or spirituality landed in what the report labeled the “ambivalent” zone, at 33%. Meanwhile, almost half of grandparents (49%) see their role as conveying family “roots,” including heritage, culture and history.

Another Day to Celebrate Grandparents

As mentioned above, National Grandparents Day is celebrated in the United States on the first Sunday after Labor Day, which is September 13 this year. Grandparents and children have a special connection that is proven to both make grandparents live longer, and also make children more emotionally resilient. Grandparents Day is an opportunity to treasure that connection and spend some quality family time together. So, if you can’t see your grandparents or grandchildren this weekend World Grandparents Day, you can plan ahead for September 13!

Enjoy your weekend!

Angel

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