A strong, loving relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild is no doubt one of the most important gifts for both generations. Science itself has highlighted the benefits for both ages in building this precious bond. And of course, Pope Francis has been very vocal about the significant role the seniors in our lives have.
There are myriad ways to build this bond. Recently, however, I witnessed how one activity in particular proved to be exceptionally beneficial for both a grandparent and their grandchild.
As a teacher I set my architecture students, who are French, the task of describing their dream home. After wading through a number of essays I started grading one that was exceptional.
The English was perfect and there was quite a poetic and quaint touch to the description. The 20-year-old who had written the work has what I would say is an intermediate level of English. Naturally my suspicions were raised.
An afternoon with grandpa
I asked her if she had used a translating site, or even copied it directly from a magazine as the style was so beautiful. She shared that she’d spent a Sunday afternoon with her grandfather, who helped her on the project.
She explained that her 80-year-old grandpa used to be an architect who adored speaking English. They chatted about her dream design, and he then worked on the sort of vocabulary and verbs she should be using. He took the time to ensure she really understood what he was sharing with her.
They drank numerous cups of tea, they snacked on cookies, and she told me that her grandfather was very alive during these precious hours. He discovered her dreams and skills, and she realized just how much experience and talent he had. For her it was perfection — just like her essay. For him, he could enjoy watching his granddaughter listen to his every word and help in getting her a great grade.
(Of course, I couldn’t resist giving her a top grade. I’m only human and watching the absolute pride my student had in her grandfather was a delight.)
This interaction only highlighted the importance of continuing to champion just how vital the elderly are for all the generations, and how useful they can be. Of course, this doesn’t have to be restricted to helping with homework; they also have so many practical skills to impart, as well as some real pearls of wisdom.
However, a simple activity like doing homework with grandchildren can show youngsters what a real source of inspiration and knowledge grandparents are. And if their elderly relatives have the skills, they can play a wonderful role in helping them navigate the stresses of getting their all-important schoolwork done, especially as parents don’t always have the time to help out with such activities.