This I Believe

Don - Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Entered on January 18, 2007
Age Group: 65+
Themes: family

I Believe that Grandfather’s Have a Second Chance

Raising children to become responsible, productive members of society is a difficult task. For many of us our role model of a father may not have been enlightening. Further, for many of us we did not have the benefit of knowing – or even having – a grandfather.

With this as a backdrop, I made many mistakes as a father. Fortunately, my wife was there to smooth over the rough spots and my children were blessed with inquiring minds and an understanding and tolerance for a father trying to do his best but floundering nonetheless.

But thank goodness there are second chances! Being a grandfather can be a very rewarding experience. Not only do you know with clarity what is and isn’t really important -learned from the lessons of hard fought battles – but you have the chance to use that knowledge for the benefit of your grandchildren. Additionally, since with age comes career knowledge, a grandfather knows those attributes of character that will, most likely, predict career success. They can encourage their grandchildren to develop those attributes.

An important corollary of being a caring, loving and involved grandfather is that you can demonstrate to your children that you would have been a better father – if you just would have known how! Nothing has to be said out loud – this is a case where actions really do speak louder than words.

Grandfathers can teach their grandchildren how to play golf and why it is important to write thank you notes. Grandfathers can teach their grandchildren how to play hearts and why it is important to take their hats off indoors. Grandfathers can teach grandchildren how to play racquetball and why it is important not to have their elbows on the table or to talk with their mouths full. Grandfathers can listen to their grandchildren non-judgmentally and why it is important not to be insensitive, intolerant or prejudiced.

The second chance that grandfathers have is by just “being there” – for their children and their grandchildren. Being there as a nurturing and a caring role model. Being there for emotional support as well as financial support.

The desired result of being a good grandfather is the creation of positive self-esteem, desirable personal character attributes and emotional maturity in their grandchildren. The view is worth the climb!

I am probably not as good as I think that I am, but as a grandfather of seven – from twin 18 year olds to a new-born -I think that Iam doing better than I did as a father. My efforts provide me with immense joy and personal satisfaction. Thank God for second chances!

Some grandparents jokingly say that as far as grandchildren are concerned the two happiest days are when they arrive and when they leave. However, in my case the two happiest days are the day they arrive and the day that they decide to extend their visit.