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The Power of Story, Part 3

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 04/05/2021

Recollections 7 show art Recollections 7

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Did your grandparents have style? Emily asked her guests in Season 4 to recall what defined the styles they remember defining their own grandparents. Also, Emily invites Mike (husband and producer) to preview upcoming topics we'll cover in the rest of this season of The Grand Life.

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Meeting Paula Span show art Meeting Paula Span

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Emily sits down with New York Times columnist Paula Span, who has taken her reporting on aging and grandparenting and mixed it with her own experiences as a new grandmother (or Bubbe, as it is in Yiddish). The result is a fun new audiobook that shares what she's learned from a bunch of smart people, including her granddaughter. Paula's audiobook The Bubbe Diaries is available on . Her  are called "Generation Grandparent."

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Pre-Grandparenting show art Pre-Grandparenting

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Can you start grandparenting before the birth? Absolutely, says Emily's guest Gail Root. She is a student, teacher, and advocate for practices both past and present that acknowledge a pre-born baby's ability to connect with the outside (the womb) world. Also, a check-in on a new web resource for first-time grandparents. SHOW NOTES Emily's guest, Gail Root, counsels new grandparents at her web site . DeeDee's website, More Than Grand, has released . This link applies the discount code GRAND, and you'll receive 10% off your purchase!

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Grands With Addictions show art Grands With Addictions

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Your relationship with your grands may allow you to spot problems before distracted parents may notice them. Emily talks with author Richard Capriola, who focuses on teens with addictions and gives advice to grandparents who may uncover or suspect addictions or abuse. EPISODE NOTES Richard's book is Emily also mentioned Fern Schumer Chapman's new on sibling estrangement. If you'd like to learn more about the issues her new book addresses, Fern is recommending on the topic from broadcast television. Her interview with Emily is in Season 3, Episode 8, "Grandparent Caregivers." 

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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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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 many-volumed encyclopedia that we referred to almost daily. It was our Google. Whenever the questions arose, mostly at the dinner table, the answers were at our fingertips. I especially enjoyed looking through the anatomy section that had layers of transparent drawings that would help you see the many parts of the body from outside to inside. 

  When I asked my mother about whether or not she remembered having books in her house growing up, she had a quick answer. 

  “It was non-existent, other than a newspaper.” 

  How did that happen? How did someone grow up in a house with no books and create a home with books galore? The more I thought about that image, the less I could really grasp growing up with no books. In fact, I cannot remember a time without them. A house without books would be so empty. Like a house with no furniture. Books were there from my babyhood. I associated books with love, and cuddling with my mom, pointing at illustrations or running my hands over the covers.

  Most of us remember Pat the Bunny, but books for me didn’t need sandpaper to scratch with my fingernails, a flapof fabric to lift, or even a little shock of fur to stroke. Books could be touched for their smooth pages, or the gilded binding, or the inviting artwork. A new book smelled like heaven, and the peculiar crack of the pages when you opened it for the first time was intoxicating and unrepeatable. 

  My own mother didn’t get to experience that until she was 10. I asked her if she even knew that you could own books and have them in your home. 

  “Well, I know that one little boy had books because he gave me a book for my 10th birthday...yes, Heidi! That was the first time I knew you could have books in your house.  It made a huge impression on me.”

  And then there was the library. My mother recalls. 

  “I didn’t even know there was a library until I was in high school. And I would’ve been afraid to go in.  A child couldn’t register, I don’t believe. You’d have to have an adult with you.”

  Even though she never had a library card, my mom made sure we did and took us to the library weekly. A trip to the library was a fun outing for me. I would scour the shelves and take as many books as were allowed. My mom was very involved in the choosing (Caldecott and Newbery Award winners were staples), and if I came back to her with all fiction books, she would direct me to the non-fiction and “encourage” me to choose something from there as well. That was a stretch for me. I remember whining that I didn’t like horses, or outer space or dinosaurs, but she would march me back to the 0-999 stacks and help me pick something. I usually got lost in the 7-800’s. But now and then I would sidle over to the B section...and come home with a biography instead. 

  Beyond the books at home and the books in the library, my mom used books to reward us. I distinctly remember trips to the dentist who had a treasure chest in his office. After a painful tooth extraction, I was offered a little plastic magnifying glass or some jacks and a rubber ball from the treasure chest. My mom said it was fine to choose one of those, but as soon as we got into the car, she smiled and suggested we go get a book. Off we went to the bookstore. Books became more than just sources of information. They became a balm, something I could look to for solace, something I cherished. 

  As a result of all of her intentionality, I still love books. As our children were growing up, we gave them each a special book for Valentine’s Day. I stopped the tradition once they got married. But books have always played prominently in our exchanges with our children and now our grandchildren. And our own children have continued the Valentine’s Day tradition of buying books for their own children. 

  As you have heard, stories were not in my mother’s DNA. But they became part of ours because... she decided to change things up. She was a parent who encouraged reading and opened the door to a world that she had been shut out of. 

  “All those things were missing in my childhood.”

  I am so grateful that she propped open the door and added those things into mine. I know it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t what she had grown up with, but it is a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. Thanks, Mom. 

© 2021 Emily Morgan