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Recollections 4

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 05/15/2020

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

What words do you want your grands to remember you by? Emily's guests from Season Two share some wise and practical sayings their grandparents passed down to them. In The Stretch It Takes, she considers the weight of words and the power of actions--and see her essay reproduced below. We wrap with a production meeting on what’s coming in Season Three, and Emily's brand new podcast is pre-announced. 

THE STRETCH IT TAKES: Weight and Power

Have you seen those ads on Facebook lately for weighted blankets? I have always wanted one of those. While I don’t actually suffer from anxiety, sleep disorder, autism or ADHD, I still often wish I could experience the sensation of that heaviness evenly distributed over my entire body.  Those blankets are pricey, but it seems like they would do just what is needed..provide weight and comfort all at the same time. The science behind a weighted blanket is this, according to an article from 2019 in the on-line magazine, Penn Medicine:

A weighted blanket uses “pressure therapy” — using a calm-inducing amount of pressure on your entire body, similar to the feeling of being hugged, swaddled, stroked, or held. 

I’d like to propose that the sensation of a weighted blanket is like the way kind words and actions work in tandem to bring about a similar, secure feeling.  Words have weight. Actions have the power to carry the weight. Both are necessary to provide the right kind of therapy for our souls. 

As a grandparent, I want to provide that for my grands. I realized after talking to some of my guests about their own grandparents, that they don’t really remember the words they spoke. Many grandparents of the 50s and 60s weren’t verbally open about their feelings. So some of my Grand Life guests just remember feeling loved. But what if they could remember both words and actions? What if we as grandparents recognized the weight of words and the power of actions and applied just the right amount of pressure therapy to the soul of each grand? 

In the world of weighted blankets there are charts to determine which weight of blanket to buy according to your own physical weight. What if we could intuit as grandparents just the right amount of weight in our words for each grandchild?  We do not need to bombard them with our words...that would be like placing an anvil on their chest. But what could we say that would calm them, ground them, and make them feel secure? This is so important in a world where children are often unsettled and feel like they are floating with no foundation - Absent parents, no grandparents, lives too busy to afford time for words or actions.  

And what we do is as important as what we say. The old adage “ actions speak louder than words,” is true, but it’s only half true. There is also the truth that words have the power to stay with someone for a lifetime - both kind and hurtful words. Words and actions are not either, or.  They are a both/and proposition. Just like a weighted blanket would not work if made up of a bucket of pebbles, so would our words fall short if they aren’t joined with hugs, our physical presence, kisses, and focused attention. Together words and actions can induce the kind of calm we would love our grands to feel. 

I am thinking of many ways in which I fail to use words to affirm my grands. I prefer to cuddle with them as I read a book. I’m not the most skilled at affirming words. I am working on it.  Maybe you’re one of those kinds of people. Maybe you’re married to one of those kinds of people. But this particular time in history is forcing us to understand how important words can be to our grands. If I can’t see them, hug them, or play with them, I can always talk to them. 

Of course, I would prefer to do both, and will when able, but for now, I am thinking of what words will accompany my actions when I see them again. I will, of course, tell them that I love them and how much I’ve missed them. I might also tell them what I love about them. How they make me laugh, how I enjoy their smile. I might even come up with some pet names for them that will define how I feel about each one of them. If you have many grands, that is going to take some major intentionality! I have a friend who has a special blessing that she often says to her grands when they leave her home. There are grandparents who use the written words to add weight to their actions.

While you have extra time, maybe take a moment to consider both your words and actions towards your grands. And then, when you can, lay that wonderful blanket over your grands and let them enjoy the feeling of being comforted by your deep, grandparent love. 

(c) 2020 Emily Morgan