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Grandparents With Careers

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 11/30/2020

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

Some grandparents have taken on the grand role while still holding onto their jobs. In this episode, Emily studies this balancing act with an author-educator, two grandmas still at work, and an adult daughter. What do they all get from the combination, and what is the cost?

SHOW NOTES

Author and educator Madonna Harrington Meyer's book is Grandmothers at Work: Juggling Families and Jobs.

Grandmothers at Work

Therapist Pam Siegel and co-author Leslie Zinberg wrote Grandparenting: Renew, Relive, Rejoice. The website Grandparents Link was co-founded by Leslie. 

book cover

THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's Essay)

  When I was a young mother, I worked as a journalist, a technical writer and an adjunct  professor. I finished my Master’s degree soon after I got married and enjoyed a few years of writing and teaching before we started to have children.

  After our second child, I started to feel overwhelmed and frustrated trying to both work and care for our growing family. My husband and I decided together that I would stop working. We would have to live on less and be okay with that. For me, it was an easy decision. If it meant we would own a house with a tiny kitchen, no dishwasher, no air conditioning , and a washer and dryer in a dank, old basement, in exchange for more time with the children, that was a fair trade. Of course, I realize now that even having the choice not to work was extreme luxury. It was beyond privilege for me to be living in a single-family home with two cars and plenty of heat and water. I was one of the lucky ones. 

  However, I don’t think I realized then what I know now. If you step back from work and career to care for your children, you have most likely exited the pathway to financial success. It’s true for both men and women. It is very hard to climb back up a ladder when the rungs are no longer there. 

  I say all this to remind you that this is still as true now as it was when we were young parents. And it has ramifications for your future as a grandparent. We live in an age where grandparents who voluntarily stepped off the ladder are usually the grandmothers. The grandfathers, for the most part, continued in the workplace, and are now enjoying the flexible work schedules and higher incomes that they have “earned” for their career perseverance. There is little expectation that they might be the ones taking care of the grandchildren. 

  For me, I stayed out of the workplace long enough that when I got back in it (when our four children were high-school aged) I was qualified only for entry level positions. I became a secretary at a school in our district so that I would have the same hours as my children. But the pay was low and the work much more intense than what I might have been doing, had I stayed the course. 

  I often joked as I stapled colored paper borders on the school lobby bulletin board, that this is why I got my master’s degree. Honestly, it was a hard pill to swallow. 

  Fast forward to now. I am a grandmother with very little job advancement in my occupational outlook. In fact, so little that it hardly seems worth it to me. I don’t see investing time in a menial job while my grandchildren are growing up so fast that if I don’t take the time to see them, they will be adults before I know it.  But there’s always that same push and pull that I felt as a mother. If I work, I have extra money to do things I’d like to do for my kids. If I don’t work, I have the time with them but not the money. Again, I know that I speak from a place of privilege where I can actually decide that I want to live simply and do not need a job just to survive. 

  Same thing applies now as it did then. Except now I’m a grandmother, and I can be the grandmother who doesn’t work and has the time to be with my grands OR I can be the grandmother who works hard, has plenty of money to do fun things, but hasn’t got the time to do them. I know it’s not as black and white as I’m portraying it to be. There are plenty of women who do both.  And I applaud them. And I’m assuming that, as some of my guests will attest, there is a way to find that delicate balance. But then, I wonder about the grandfathers? Do they feel that same tug-of-war between careers and grandchildren?

  I like to imagine in the future that men and women will feel the push-pull equally and might find a balanced equilibrium between the two. Most likely, in the future, grandfathers will watch their grandchildren one or two days a week, and then work the other days. Maybe grandmothers can do the same without penalty or worries about losing their jobs. Maybe both can advance their careers while still investing time with their grandchildren and making enough money to support both their wants and needs. Wouldn’t that be a lovely thing? 

© 2020 Emily Morgan