Editor’s note: The Eyres have written numerous Grandparenting articles here on Meridian over the last several years, and earlier this year we partnered with Richard and Linda in introducing Grandparenting101.com and their online Zoom course on how to be more proactive, difference-making grandparents. That class quickly became something of a movement. Over a thousand grandparents are now participating in that course with more joining every week. Many are signing up at the urging of their own children-parents, who want them to be more involved and helpful with their grandchildren and more sensitive and in tune with the parents who have the true stewardship over those children. Details are at Grandparenting101.com, but we asked the Eyres for an update on the course for Meridian readers so that more of us can be informed and get involved.
Our Best New Year’s Resolution
Maybe the best New Year’s Resolution we have ever made was several years ago when we resolved to be more proactive and difference-making grandparents and to work harder at helping to create a strong three generation family that meaningfully included each of our children and all of our grandchildren.
The reason it was a good resolution is that it caused us to think…and to plan…and to re-examine…and to re-prioritize and to communicate better with our own children, the parents.
It forced the question how, and led us to develop some strategies.
And it ultimately led us to write two grandparenting books, Grandmothering by Linda and Being a Proactive Grandfather by Richard.
Finally, it caused us to share whatever we felt we had learned in an online Zoom course called Grandparenting101.com.
The fact is that we are still trying to learn how to live that New Year’s resolution. But we are getting closer. And it is the most delightful part of our lives!
And as this year ends, if you are a grandparent (or if you are a parent that wants to get your parents more involved with your kids and into more effective teamwork with you) we invite you to join us a 2023 New Year’s Resolution about Grandparenting and family teamwork.
How the Course began
We approached the idea of a Grandparenting 101 course somewhat gingerly, not knowing what the interest level would be. We just started mentioning that anyone who was curious could send us an “I’m interested” email.
We were flooded!
We started sending a survey to those who wrote, and found a remarkable level of interest:
89% said they wanted to become more proactive in their grandparenting. 59% said they were very interested in providing financial help to their grandkids that did not “entitle,” 78% in learning to give advice that did not step on parent’s toes, 75% in helping in-law kids feel part of the family, 71% in connecting grandkids to ancestors, 38% in improving their empty-nest marriage, and 92% in building trusting relationships with individual grandkids.
And on the question “How important is Grandparenting to you?” 58% checked “Supremely Important, one of the three most important things in my life” and another 39% checked “Very Important.”
So, we built the course around what grandparents told us they were most interested in—and around what we thought was most important. That list included:
- Building trusting, confidence-giving relationships with individual grandchildren
- Long-distance grandparenting: How to stay close to grandkids who live far away
- Why the Empty Nest hurts and how to ease the pain and learn the pleasure
- How to give advice without offending adult children
- Extending financial help that empowers rather than entitles grandchildren
- Setting specific goals for the kind of help and support you want to give your grandchildren at different ages
- How to have fun with grandkids. How to use and develop a sense of humor that works with them (“The top ten ways to enjoy your grandkids”)
- How to set boundaries that protect your own life but that don’t offend parents–in order to create the synergy between parents and grandparents that makes life better for the kids.
- Working with and finding compatibility with “the other grandparents.”
- Traveling with grandkids
- How to help and influence grandkids’ values and faith
- Fun activities for getting cousins to enjoy being together despite the age gaps
- How to prioritize relationships over achievements for the rest of your life
- Making sons- or daughters-in-law a true and real part of your family
- Two questionnaires–one to draw out the true nature and feelings of your grandchildren and the other to gauge where and how your children want help with their children
- How to release your role of manager and replace it with your new role of consultant
- Why “just over the hill” is the best place to be in life (“the remarkable gifts of age”)
- Working from the inside out—designing the new YOU
- Becoming a “gatherer” and planning awesome family reunions and trips within budget
- The “Ten Empty Folders” approach to planning the rest of your life
- Why 65 is the new 45
- Being the “story-link” that connects your grandkids to your ancestors–the “trunk” that links “branches” to “roots”
- The art and power of Grandparenting: Eight things you can do which parents can’t
- Seven Decisions you can make now that will enrich the remainder of life
- How an Empty Nest Marriage is different, and how to make it better
- “Grandfather’s Secrets” and “Grammie Camps”
- Helping grandkids overcome entitlement and develop GRIT
- It takes a village (or a orchestrated extended family): Forming an efficient partnership with your kids for your grandkids
- The top-ten “practical practices” and the top-ten “potential pitfalls” of Grandparenting
- Why Grandparents may be this world’s greatest untapped resource
Now that the course is happening, we feel that we are all learning from each other. Good ideas are what we all need, and when hundreds of grandparents get together on line, there are a lot of good ideas. The two of us are learning as much as anyone, not only from course members but from our own children as we discuss with them the ways they want and appreciate our help and the ways they don’t!
Why Now is a great time to get involved
The course lasts 6 months and is structured around 6 modules:
Month/Module A: The Higher Perspective, Priority, and Paradigm of More Effective Grandparenting
Month/Module B: Grandparenting Goals and Roles (by age)
Month/Module C: Deep Life Relationships with Individual Grandkids
Month/Module D: Smart Support.
Month/Module E: Values and Faith
Month/Module F: Connecting Grandkids with Ancestors
The course is designed so that each module stands alone, so people can join at any time and rotate through all 6 modules. For example, if someone were to start in January, they would first receive Module E, and then move on to Module F in February, and then go to Module A in March.
We feel like right now is a particularly good time to join, because on in the second half of January we do the Zoom seminar for Module E on helping our grandkids with their Values and their Faith—which is a very good place to start.
Once you have enrolled in the course at Grandparenting101.com you will begin to receive weekly bulletins and the zoom links for the monthly seminars. On the website at Grandparenting101.com there is an explanation and overview of the course and a link to the full curriculum. You can scroll down to “Membership and Registration” where the links allow you to join by paying only what you can afford. (You can elect to pay a portion of the course costs or, if your circumstances don’t allow that, you can register for free.)
Why this is a New Year’s Resolution for the Times we Live in.
In today’s world, with both parents so often in the full-time workforce, and with the ever-growing pressures on our kids and the many contrary cultures that surround them, the helping, supporting, leveling influence of Grandparents is more important than ever. And when parents and grandparents partner—parents in charge but grandparents sharing the load, the teaching, the motivating, and the mentoring—families thrive.
Thanks to Meridian for partnering with us in catalyzing this important Grandparenting movement. We feel that a substantial percentage of those who have registered so far are Meridian readers, and we invite all of you to join us in the New Year’s 2023 resolution to become more proactive, difference-making grandparents and to create better parent/grandparent teamwork for the benefit of the children within our three-generation families.
Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times #1 bestselling authors who have recently turned their focus from books on parenting to books on grandparenting which are a better match with where their own lives are these days.