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Grand Play

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 01/15/2020

The Power of Story, Part 3 show art The Power of Story, Part 3

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Emily wraps up the third episode on "the power of stories" with a chat with an executive from Scholastic, Inc.--the source of all those books sold to grade-school students from newsletters and book fairs. Their conversation took place just before World Read-Aloud Day, which framed their talk about grandparents reading aloud to their grands. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's Essay): The Genetics of Reading   When I visited the home of my maternal grandparents, I don’t remember seeing a book in any room of the house. It was a stark contrast to our own house with books in each room and a...

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The Power of Story, Part 2 show art The Power of Story, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing the theme from last episode, Emily speaks with a 93-year-old grandfather, author, and active advocate of capturing and then "unleashing" grandparent stories. His creative partner in their website adds helpful details about a program that helps grands become powerful and prolific story-makers. SHOW NOTES Jerry and Deanna's website is grandparentsunleashed.com, and  Jerry's book is The Grandest Love, available .

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The Power of Story, Part 1 show art The Power of Story, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

How well do your grands know your story? Emily travels (virtually) to Trinidad to speak with Felicia Chang, a professional in the area of capturing the personal stories of our families, with a special emphasis our elders. Your story has worth and power...and is of priceless value to your grands. EPISODE NOTES Felicia Chang's TEDx Talk about how the stories of our loved ones connect us all is . Her business has a and a . This is Felicia with her dear grandmother, the subject of her movie and the inspiration of her view on capturing stories.

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing last episode's theme, this time Emily talks with a grandparent in the US and a parent in France whose extended relationships span oceans, languages, and cultures. Adventure seasoned with selflessness is the recipe. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's essay)   “We’re moving to Brussels.” Those words shocked me even though I was twenty-one, living in my own apartment and working on my graduate degree. My parents called from NH to inform me that my dad had taken a job in Belgium. “Where is that?” was my immediate reply. (I was in grad school for English Lit, and obviously...

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Back in Season 2, we did an episode on Long-Distance Grandparenting which proved to be a popular subject. When the distances are really long--international--you'd think it would be harder. The pandemic has made distance less of a factor that it once was, so experienced global grandparents can teach lessons almost all of us can apply. EPISODE SHOW NOTES Learn more about Emily's guest, author Helen Ellis, at https://www.distancefamilies.com. Her book will be out in April, 2021. 

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Grandparent Educators, Part 2 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Some grandparents have the time, talent, and access to become directly involved with their grands' education. Emily talks with two grandparents and a teacher who have done or seen this firsthand, which may give you ideas on how to approach this in your extended family. SHOW NOTE Learn more about Emily's third guest, Sandra Williams, from her and her book, .  

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Grandparent Educators, Part 1 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Grandparents can play a range of roles in their grands' education. In Part 1 on this topic, Emily talks with a retired teacher whose journey through racial segregation in the 1950s shaped her commitment to supporting the schooling of her descendants. Emily's essay is a revealing self-portrait of a third grader, a pen pal, and a missed opportunity Emily's guest Kaaren Rodman provides details on her family's scholarship: "Our family has set up a scholarship that is awarded through the Indianapolis Urban League. Mike and I did smaller grants for several years in the 90's, one for each set of...

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Grandparent Love, Part 2 show art Grandparent Love, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

The centerpiece of this episode is Emily's interview with best-selling author Barbara Graham, who has written about the collected experiences of gifted and famous grandmothers. There are lessons to be learned from her work... and from Emily's essay about loving our grands well with the time we find. Learn more about Emily's guest and her work at .    The Stretch It Takes: Competing With Time (Emily's Essay)   If there’s one thing that this pandemic has taught me, it’s that time looks and feels different to different people, depending on their age and their...

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Grandparent Love, Part 1 show art Grandparent Love, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

To begin Season 4, Emily talks with two members of her network on how to put our love for our grands into action--with purpose, and intentionality, and clever ideas.  The payoff is a richer relationship, even when it's largely a long-distance one. To learn more about our two guests visit and .         

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Spotlight on Emily show art Spotlight on Emily

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

While we take a break between seasons of The Grand Life Podcast, we're inviting host Emily Morgan to the guest's chair for a change. With husband and producer Mike, she covers choosing content, finding guests, and balancing the living of The Grand Life with her podcasting about it.

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More Episodes

Emily explores ways that grandparents can love their grands uniquely through play, including visits to one of the largest private model train collection in the nation, a granddad who's become a Pokemon expert, and an author-educator whose strategies for play help to heal fear and loneliness.

SHOW NOTES

Some snaps from our field trip to Mr. Muffin's Trains...

Emily's interview with Dianne Maroney covered The Imagine Project (web site) and her book, "The Imagine Project: Empowering Kids to Rise Above Drama, Trauma, and Stress."

THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's essay):  Play With Me

  When I couldn’t sleep as a child,  I loved to lie in bed and create shadow puppets with my hands on my bedroom wall. On lazy afternoons, I would splay my body on an upholstered chair with my head upside down and watch people walk over the doorways. Sometimes I would look for imaginary figures on the spackled ceilings of my room or the clouds in the sky. For me, play involved massive amounts of imagination - and I possessed that in spades. 

  But ask me to play a board game and I was...well, bored. Challenge me to a game of dodgeball, and I cringed. Phys Ed was my least favorite part of the school or summer camp day. My idea of active was a spinning brain. 

  Creating and directing elaborate one-act plays in my backyard - that was my jam.  When I was a little older, I recruited neighborhood guests to interview for my Stacy Summers talk show (that was my stage name.)  I wasn’t a good artist, but as soon as I could read, I began to write, and that provided me many hours of entertainment. Depending on what I was reading at the time, I would write in the style of CS Lewis, or Laura Ingalls Wilder, or JRR Tolkien, even Jane Austen. 

  I have come to believe, from my own experiences, that children play in all different ways. I played freely with ideas instead of my body. Some people play with objects...twigs, hair, yarn, paint. Others with things that go...cars, trains, planes. Some with computers or legos. Many with physical sports like running, and swimming. 

  As a child, my play was often solitary, but if and when a peer or an adult would play along, I was happy to include them. And when my own children were little, I was always willing to play shoe store or tea room or laundromat or shopping mall. I was also always willing to read a book and enter into the imaginary world  of fiction. 

  My biggest regret...and it still is, is that I don’t like to play games, and I have several family members who do. And so even when I agree to play, I often begrudge the time. Game time is  a stretch for me. I would like to happily oblige, but games feel to me like unwelcome invitations to a very small and crowded room with a large amount of rules that must be remembered and followed. I get a sort of claustrophobic feeling the minute I see a board or card game being unpacked. I usually  just don’t have it in me to accept the invitation to play in that way. I’ve often denied my children the luxury of a yes. 

  When I do go along with that kind of play, I try to seek enjoyment not in the game but in watching the others have fun in the moment. So, there is where I usually land. In the game but not part of it.

  As a grandparent I am once again finding it a challenge to play...this time with our grands. While I’d rather read them a book or talk to them about their day, I find that if the grand I’m with is leading the charge, they are more apt to grab my hand and pull me into their own play.

  “Come over here, Emmy. Let’s make cakes in the sand.” or “ Push me on the swing” or “Dance with me.”

  Sometimes, I am asked to play Candyland or Trouble or Ticket to Ride.  And each time, I have to take a deep breath and flex. I would rather not play. But I understand that the grandchild in front of me is not so much asking me to play the game but to join them IN the game. It’s not about the game, it’s about the child. And this is the message I need to remember. Admittedly, I don’t love games, but I do love my grands,  so I willingly join in when they pick up a game piece and ask me what color I want to be. I usually choose a cheery yellow. How about you?

© 2019 Emily Morgan