There is a saying in Hindi that claims that the interest is far more dear than the principal – meaning that grandchildren are always more dear to grandparents than their own children. That is the kind of relationship that grandparents and grandchildren share – there is a love that is beyond measurement and beyond compare. And while there have always been days to celebrate parents, a day to celebrate these senior superstars was just as important; hence giving birth to Grandparents Day! This day is more than just finding the best gifts for grandparents; it is about showing them how loved and cherished they are.
“Grandparents always have time for you when everyone else is too busy.” – Unknown
In the year 1969, a nine year old boy named Russell Capper decided to send a letter to the then American president, Richard Nixon, suggesting to him that one day in the year be chosen to celebrate grandparents. Within a few days, he received a letter from Rose Mary Woods, who was the personal secretary to the President, telling Russell that the President could proclaim special observance days, only when the Congress authorised him to do so.
However, this information reached someone named Marian McQuade, who was member of the West Virginia Commission on Aging and the Nursing Home Licensing Board. Her campaigning ensured that in 1973, West Virginia, Grandparents Day was celebrated. In 1977, Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia, along with several other senators, announced a joint resolution requesting the president that a day be allotted to celebrate grandparents. Eventually in 1978, President Jimmy Carter invited McQuade to the White House to announce that a bill was being signed to have an official Grandparents Day, which would be celebrated on the Sunday after Labor Day. McQuade was henceforth considered the founder of National Grandparents Day and probably received several gifts for grandmother herself!
The proclamation that was signed by President Carter stated several things, including the need to honour grandparents, as they have a strong affect on our lives. Grandparents offer a link to national heritage and traditions; they offer values that transcend “passing fads and pressures”. The bill also mentioned that grandparents can offer love and guidance without having to take on the daily responsibility and reduce the space that can emerge between generations.
The American holiday proclamation was meant to have three official purposes:
- To honour grandparents
- To help children be more aware of the information, guidance and emotional and mental strength that grandparents can provide
- Allow grandparents a holistic opportunity to show their love to their grandchildren
“A grandparent is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.” – Unknown
Over the past several years, there have been numerous studies and researches that have suggested that grandparents are an extremely positive influence on young minds. Here are just some of the reasons why grandparents need to be celebrated and cherished:
- They prove to be some of the best caregivers: If there is ever a situation, when the parents are not around to give children the care and attention they need, there is no one better than grandparents to stand in. Not only do the grandparents have the experience of having raised children of their own, their love and affection towards the grandchildren will be much more. As a matter of fact, there are several working parents who are choosing to leave children, especially young children, in the care of their grandparents, rather than a day care or house help.
- Grandparents can provide emotional support and mental strength: There is no denying that grandparents have a lot more emotional intelligence as compared to parents, simply because they have seen a lot more of the world and have a lot more experiences in life. When they are around young minds, they can help promote better emotional health and offer them support in several ways – young people can learn how to respond to situations better and in a more mature manner.
- Grandparents are genuinely there for grandchildren: No matter what the situation, grandparents will always have time for their grandbabies, irrespective of their age. Whether it is babysitting or providing mental or emotional support, they will be there, whenever the need arises. And while they might bend the rules a little once in a while to let their children get away with small things, they will know when to draw the line and ensure that no major rules are broken!
- They know how to make the children feel like they are the centre of the universe: Grandparents seem to have the talent to make children feel like they are the sun, moon and everything in between. The child might have drawn a stick figure and they will make it seem like it is the Monalisa! They can spend all the time in the world listening to the tall tales the children weave, they always have the time to bake cookies or help out with school projects. Grandparents are also almost always some of the finest story tellers – whether its tales from mythology or their own childhood days, they have a talent of weaving stories in the most creative manner. Chances are that if you have gifted them Ganesha idols, they will tell you plenty of stories about the god!
The pandemic has put a lot of things in perspective, including the relationships that grandparents share with their grandkids. Many grandparents have not been able to see their grandchildren for a long time, many have gotten to spend all their time with them. however, not many grandkids would have taken the time to thank their grandparents for all the love they have received and this day would be perfect to do all that and more!
- For instance, you can look for gifts for grandfather that he will enjoy – coffee or tea mugs that he can use for his morning or evening cups of hot beverage or a painting that he can hang in his bedroom.
- If your grandparents stay with you, you can make a card or a photo collage that shows them just how special they are and how much you love them.
- Take the time to learn more about them – why not set up an “interview” with them. Make a show out of it – ask them to dress up and have a list of questions ready for them. These questions could vary from where they went to school, who their favourite teachers were, what kind of mischief they and their friends got into and so on.
- Grandmothers tend to be the ones who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but this year, you could perhaps gang up with your grandfather and cook something nice for your grandma! You could gift your grandmother Buddha statues or paintings, encouraging her to relax and take some time for herself!
- In case your grandparents don’t live with you, you could take the time to video call them and chat with them. Make sure that you send some gifts for them, and eCraftIndia has plenty to choose from – whether you look at a fountain that they can keep in their living room or a photo frame with a family photo within.