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Earning, Spending, Saving

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 09/21/2020

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

Every family handles, and teaches about, money differently. In this episode, Emily talks with three people about earning, spending, and saving, and how they grandparent (and parent) around the topic of money.

SHOW NOTES

Tim Sheehan's service Greenlight lets your grands manage cash using a plastic card instead of currency. If they have one, you can gift them with a funds transfer to their cards.

The Stretch It Takes: Money
(Emily's Essay)

Money is kind of a funny concept. And let’s face it, even in its most tangible forms - bills and coins - money is still more of an idea than a reality. Our cold, hard cash transmits the concepts of buying power, value, and worth. When we have it in our hands, we can exchange it for goods and services. Sometimes we trade it for a piece of paper that says it’s invested somewhere - like the stock market - a place we can’t really see or touch or even predict.

I have been thinking a lot about money and how I learned about it as a child. I imagine myself at the edge of a lake that has stepping stones to the other side. On the other side is...not a pot of gold...but a clearer understanding of the gold in the pot. Here’s how, as an adult, I reached the other side. As you listen, see if that resembles anything like your journey:

In my early years up until age 7 maybe, I really only understood the concept of FREE, and it looked like this:. If I went to a store and I wanted something, my parents usually bought it for me. 

A little later, my understanding of FREE expanded to include the quid pro quo: things that are given to you but require something in return. The free pretzels at the deli IF my mom bought some liverwurst or pastrami. The “FREE” Sno-Cones at Vacation Bible School,  if I sat through a couple of hours of hymns and bible verse memorization. The FREE Christmas gifts from my grandparents as long as I sent a thank you note. This taught me that usually FREE means there are strings attached.

From age 7-12, I learned that if you work for something, you can get something back. But usually it costs someone else something. I followed my older sister around the neighborhood, selling toothbrushes with her so she could earn a transistor radio. My Brownie and Girl Scout friends sold cookies to earn prizes. The Avon lady sat at our kitchen table and sold my mom lipstick and bubble bath.  But besides that, I had no other concept of working to earn money. I’m not sure it ever really occurred to me that my dad was working to earn the things we enjoyed. They were just always there. 

Before the age of 12, I didn’t really have my own money - except for the occasional quarter from the tooth fairy. My parents didn’t give me an allowance. Most years, at Christmas I’d receive a 5 dollar check from my nana and grandpa. The only time I remember earning money was once when my grandmother handed me a five dollar bill for helping her clean up all the holiday dishes. But my parents made me give it back. They said  “we help others to be kind, not to get money.” I was devastated. I had helped out of the goodness of my heart, yes, but my grandmother was giving me 5 dollars out of the goodness of hers, and it felt wrong to deny her the pleasure ( and my own at receiving it). 

I have now navigated four stones across the pond. The next one was a rather large and fairly slippery leap. From ages twelve to 18, I earned babysitting money, took a recordkeeping class in high school, and finally was set up with a checkbook as I headed off to college. I earned spending money by working catering during the school year, and spent my summer breaks working in various office jobs. But the biggest lesson about money came when my parents lost a business to bankruptcy. 

That’s where I learned that money is a bridge to so many things...friendships, inclusion, and most importantly peace of mind. When you go from having a lot to having nearly nothing, when the bottom drops out of your own supply-and-demand chain, when you have to go to the grocery store and pay for things using food stamps, your perspective about money really changes. And for the first time, I was very aware of all the people in the world who weren’t fortunate enough to carry around that wad of cash that I had...or used to have. 

The next stepping stone was watching my mom and dad dig out of the financial hole they were in during my final college summers. To earn his unemployment check, my dad had to work menial jobs. This is a man with three advanced degrees...two of them from Ivy League colleges. I remember watching him making a poster for a nursing home to teach the residents good eating habits. The basement of our duplex became a boilerroom operation for finding another job. And he finally landed a great one that took him and my mother to Belgium where I was able to join on my breaks from graduate school. Money is definitely status. Money is not about making good choices...it’s about having good choices to make. 

Once again the stepping stones became easy...and I lived a carefree life for a while, traveling with friends across Europe, taking graduate classes in Oxford,  and enjoying my parents’ newfound freedom and wealth. The lesson learned:  having money is always easier than not having money. 

The next stepping stone was marriage and family. Adulting: the realization that my husband and I were solely responsible for our future. If I chose not to work and instead stay home and be with our children, then we would have to learn to live on less. I learned that money doesn’t buy happiness and that time is a commodity, just like money. 

Finally, as a grandparent, I am learning that money doesn’t equal relationships. I may not be the most wealthy grandparent. It turns out I’m not the one who provides lavish trips and gifts for our grands.  But I can shower them with love and adoration, and with my physical presence. I knew this already, but it has really hit home for me now. Money certainly cannot buy love. 

I am now on the other side of that lake and staring into the pot of gold that will be our retirement. I am now realizing that there are new money lessons I will have to learn from this day forward. Maybe it will be that when money runs out, you are glad you invested in your family because they are the ones who will be there for you. Or...if we run out before our money does, then we have the privilege of passing on something to our children and grandchildren. That might be the pot of gold in and of itself. But either way, I know one thing -  it’s not about the money.
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(c) 2020 Emily Morgan