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Do Grandparents Matter?

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 09/07/2020

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

Dealing with the Pandemic has triggered some hard questions for Emily that are bigger than grandparenting. Older people have a tougher time recovering from COVID-19 infection, making our futures a bit more uncertain. Emily is asking: are we living lives well-lived? And what can change at this late hour? She interviews a filmmaker, a researcher, and a young parent with perspectives and riveting stories about grandparents who have lived well.

RESOURCES

Skye Bergman's film is Lives Well Lived: www.lives-well-lived.com . Receive her newsletter by writing to [email protected] . You can buy the DVD , share your own stories, and see other films of hers:  Motchitsuki (password: Mochi) and Forever Voters: Making A Change One Vote At a Time.  

Emily cites this article in The Indiana Lawyer commemorating the passing of attorney Larry Reuben in 2015.

The Stretch It Takes (Emily's essay):
Searching For Meaning

COVID has really changed the trajectory of so many of our lives. Before COVID, most of us were moving in a specific direction with very clear goals and hopes and dreams. We were busy, sometimes too busy. Now it feels like we are each floating in a very small pool with nothing to do but doggie paddle. My arms are tired. How about you? I question myself almost \every day. Am I making the most of this life? Have the choices I’ve already made make it impossible for me to change direction if I don’t like the way things are going? Can I be a better self and offer that to my adult children and grandchildren? If this week was my last week on earth would it be said of me, as it has of others, that I led a well-lived life?

I think I have come up with a few answers. I would love to hear yours, but for the meantime, let me share what comes to mind. I’m thinking there are a few important things to remember in order to live well.

Know yourself  - we’ve talked about this several times in the podcast, but most notably on the episode about Enneagrams. In this episode we learned that knowing yourself is the first step to making peace with the world and your adult children. It also provides you with some wisdom to pursue healthy relationships with your grands. 

Pursue your passion - there is a lot to be said for being a doting, devoted and passionate grandparent and perhaps you have made that your passion. But try to remember that grandchildren grow up in the same way your own children did. We have seen in so many episodes that hobbies and passions are important to pursue as we grow older. It gives us a way to give back to people, and that is always life-giving. 

Work hard - It’s easy to get lazy as we grow older Both physically and mentally.  And there’s certainly nothing wrong with leisurely mornings and quiet evenings. But hard work is a way to stay useful and young! Try not to shy away from doing the hard things, learning something new, taking a chance and falling. 

Stay relevant - resist the urge to look at the future in a negative way. You can still appreciate the past without damning the future. Explore what is predicted and what is present. Attempt to look forward...even in conversation. It’s important to say YES to what is to come and reserve NO in conversation only when absolutely necessary or when you feel your boundaries are being ignored. 

The older people I most love and admire are people who exhibit these traits. They are young at heart and fun to be around. They have stretched themselves and stayed flexible. They do not have to search for meaning because they have actually found it.  I guarantee that none of them have perfect lives, but instead, they have lives well lived. That’s the goal. That’s the challenge.
--(c) 2020 Emily Morgan