I’m going to be completely honest: I have mixed feelings about celebrating National Grandparents Day, which falls on September 12 this year.
I think the founder, Marian McQuade, had a noble idea when she campaigned for this national day of recognition over 30 years ago. (See earlier post for history.) She wanted to honor the elderly by encouraging people to visit them in nursing and retirement homes. McQuade grew up in rural Fayette County, West Virginia tagging along with her grandmother on visits to the elderly in her community. As a result, she developed a love and respect for elders.
McQuade was a true visionary whose tireless efforts focused attention on creating bonds between the generations. What a legacy she left—not only to her own family but also to families around the country who acknowledge the important role that grandparents have in our society.
The purpose of National Grandparents Day is to:
- Give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children. This is easy. We grandparents have plenty of opportunities to show love for our grandchildren.
- Honor grandparents. This is in the hands of our grandchildren’s parents. And according to Barbara Graham, grandmother and author of Eye of My Heart, the holiday goes unobserved by 66% of U.S. grandparents and their children. So how do we tell these already over-scheduled parents about this celebration? And how do we want to celebrate this day?
- Help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer. This seems like a responsibility that both parents and grandparents can share by teaching children to respect their elders.
There are lots of websites, including the official National Grandparents Day website, that offer all kinds of activities for celebrating the day including:
- Completing a family tree
- Interviewing grandparents about their lives
- Gathering old family photos
- Telling stories about memorable family ancestors
While these activities all sound like fun, creating a celebration still falls on the shoulders of our busy adult children.
I think when it comes right down to it, all we grandmothers really want is to be genuinely appreciated and acknowledged for our contributions to the lives of our grandchildren.
How to celebrate National Grandparents Day? Thank a grandparent!
This post is part of a blog carnival hosted by Susan Adcox, About.com’s Guide to Grandparents.