You’re probably familiar with the stereotypical image of the grandparent lecturing his or her grandchild about the “good old days.” Of course, the grandchild is bored with the discussion. It’s true that kids tend to ignore, moralizing lectures. But they do benefit from the wisdom, guidance, and experience of their grandparents. Studies have even shown that young people are seeking guidance from their grandparents. So how can you get the message across?
Here’s how to share your wisdom and experience using an approach that today’s generation can relate to.
1. Cook Together
Often, grandparents can impart wisdom simply through conversation with the younger generation(s). But that conversation tends to be a lot more meaningful when it grows out of a pleasant time together. Cooking a meal together using original recipes or cookware is a great way to get a conversation started. You can start a conversation about the history of the recipe or the origins of the cookware, and share memories of eating a particular dish.
2. Teach a Skill
Does your grandson admire your cooking? Does your granddaughter always look over your shoulder when you’re working on the car engine? You can take a moment to teach your grandkids the skills necessary to do those things they admire. This also goes for hobbies like woodworking, crafts, fishing, painting, and so forth.
3. Create a Family Tree
Work with your grandchildren or children to put together a family tree. This is sure to inspire many conversations! The younger ones can help their elders by doing online research, and the older ones can share memories of family members. Everyone may find out things they didn’t know about past family!
4. Do Family Interviews
You just never know how much longer you have with an older family member. Why not set up some audio or video interviews that will be absolutely priceless in the future? Who knows – your grandparents’ stories could be fodder for a novel someday!
When you conduct your interviews, it might help to ask specific questions that are easy to answer to get things started. Really broad questions like, “What was it like when you were young?” are too general and hard to answer. But questions like, “What was your first day of school like?” are easier to recall and respond to.
5. Encourage Grandchildren to Tell Their Stories
Conversation is a two-way street. Why not ask your grandchildren to relate things from their past, even if it was just a few years or days ago? They may be more open to listening if they’ve been heard first. Then perhaps you can relate a story or lesson you learned that is along similar lines to what your grandchild shared with you.
Reaching out a little can go a long way toward forging a close relationship with your grandchildren. By including a shared activity that you both enjoy, you make it easy to your wisdom and experience with your grandkids during the process.