|Haven (2 yrs old) dressing as a pirate at Opa and Grammy D's 2011|
I remember when I first heard I was going to be a grand parent. I was so happy for my oldest son and his wife. Since Bobby is my “step-son” the message that came to my mind was something like, “well this is great for my husband but I’m not quite old enough to be a grandparent yet!”
Haven came into the world in December 2009 and it was “love at first sight!” As soon as her parents would let her Robert began taking care of her each and every Monday. It was so rewarding to watch her grow and learn. Through her eyes we once again learned to appreciate the littlest of things in life, as seen through a baby and a small, inquisitive child. When Haven was just 2 years old Robert and I attended a fun, pirate-themed party where the hosts passed out all kinds of “pirate booty” which we in-turn took home. For months Haven would dress up like a pirate and to this day all of our grandchildren still play with the “gold” coins and wooden treasure chest, the eye-patch, the sparkly beads, the pirate head scarf, and the “Captain Hook hand.”
Our second grandchild, Robert IV (Cohen), arrived just two years after the first and although it was a bit tougher watching two, we still set-aside Mondays as the day dedicated to our “littles.”
Fast-forward to May of 2014 and along came Christian, who was born to our youngest daughter, Christina (Sinclair) and her husband Chad. Since Christina had to return to work as a fitness instructor just six weeks after Christian was born we once again had the privilege of taking care of yet another grandchild. This time it’s nearly every day, and I can tell you that this is by far the most rewarding and purposeful activity in my life.
As I write this I am just a few days away from flying to Dallas for our second visit with our fourth grandchild, Exley, born to our oldest daughter, Angie (Schuller) and her husband, Chris Wyatt, in March 2106.
There is nothing more important than being with your family.
|Opa and Cohen (1 yr old) at petting zoo 2012|
Spending time with your grandchildren, helps them developmentally and at the same time it helps you to maintain good health, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Here are just a few of the benefits I experience when spending time with them:
1) Children are a great way to slow-down and enjoy the simple things in life. You will view a butterfly, a flower, a crashing wave, a duck on a lake, or even a dump truck, in totally fresh and new ways. Grand parenting helps you become more aware of your surroundings and of God’s creations.
2) Most of the time you need to get “down and dirty” with your grandchildren and this might include, building blocks, jumping up and down, dancing, play-acting out a scene, giving piggy-back rides, climbing on the jungle gym (so they don't fall), or building a fort. This kind of movement keeps you flexible and helps you forget about any kind of pain you might otherwise dwell on.
3) There is nothing more important than your time and children know when you are distracted by other things. When I am with my grand children I try not to take phone calls, text, or email. Besides, if I take my eye off of Christian he is likely to try to climb over the balcony, scale the fireplace, or flush something down the toilet! The experience of living in the present is a great benefit of grand parenting. They help you “stop and smell the roses.”
4) Playing board games or cards, teaching them to count, painting or doing crafts, or putting together puzzles…all of these activities help to keep your mind sharp and focused. Most of us get caught in ruts as we age but being around your grandchildren will keep you thinking “out of the box!”
5) Healthy cooking is also a great sideline. Although I’m a nutritionist and thus try to eat as healthy as possible at every meal, my daughter prepares every meal for Christian and he is only allowed organic meats, fruits and vegetables. Off the list are grains and foods that contain refined sugars, dairy, and of course, no packaged or “fake” food ever! It’s a great reminder that the food we eat today is building the body we will become tomorrow.
6) A sense of appreciation and love that is felt and passed along when we are with the youngest generation is very real and is a great benefit to our emotional health. There is so much to be thankful for and spending time with our extended family reminds us to embrace an attitude of gratitude. Adults have so much stress and worry and it’s great to be with children who really only care about the here and now.
7) Faith in a new generation and faith in action as you help teach your grandchildren about God and His creation: how to pray and then you pray with them. I recently sat down to lunch with my daughter and my grandson and as we started eating our meal Christian shouted out, “pray!” Wow, did that get our attention! Children learn early how important it is to acknowledge God who is the giver and sustainer of everything good in life.
|"D" and Christian (2 yrs) June 2016|
These are just a few of the many health benefits that I've observed by being involved in my grandchildren's lives. I offer time, encouragement, and support for them, but the benefits I gain far out-weigh what I give. I am helping to raise the next generation of peace-keeping, God-loving, good people and what could be more important than this?
If you don’t have any grandchildren you can do what we used to do in our church: find older people and match them up with children who don’t have grandparents. These “foster” grand relationships provide the love and influence that only comes through inter-generational contact and experiences.
Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Peaceful.
Join me on the 15th of every month for "The Call" at 6pm pacific time. Dial 641-715-3865 and then 642848# for access.
Questions or information about The Call or your health? Donna@DonnaSchuller.com