Simple Ways to Help Your Grandchildren Become Compassionate Human Beings
As we are exposed to a lot more news and media, sometimes it gets difficult to believe in humanity. It recently got me thinking as I noticed a striking difference between children who had regular access to their grandparents as against those who didn’t. Children tend to idealise their grandparents more than they do their parents. This could be because most grandparents are non-judgmental about their grandchildren or in some cases become children themselves when they are around grandkids.
Given this observation, it occurred to me, the role of grandparents in the society we live in currently is far more important than it ever was. All grandparents hope to see their grandchildren grow up to be happy and healthy. However, we need our children to be compassionate human beings the most. Compassion involves the ability to empathise and the need to do good… both these traits can be imbibed through words and actions of grandparents. Given the busy and stressed lifestyle most parents lead these days, they can definitely do with all the help they can get, even if most of them would never admit to needing the help!
So here are some though starters on how you, as a grandparent can instill values in your grandchildren to make them compassionate adults.
Show Them By Action
Children learn faster when they experience action rather than hear words, so show them compassion by being empathetic to your own children (their parents) in front of them. Show them the art of patience by listening to what your children are going through, ask them about their day, their job, and their stressors; provide them with an empathetic ear. Refrain from being judgmental, avoid statements such as “I did a lot more in my days and never got stressed out”. Instead ask them how you can help them or make them laugh with some jokes from yesteryears. Your grandchildren will notice your patience, your sense of humour and visibly notice how their parents feel less stressed after even a 10 minute phone call from you every day. If you notice your grandchildren being less compassionate when they come visiting you, talk to them about how it affects other people and discuss alternative actions. Remember, they are always watching and learning from you so make sure you are compassionate as a couple too, with each other.
Do Things With Your Grandchildren
If you do any volunteering work within your community or even hobbies you follow, make sure you take your grandchildren at least once in a while with you while you volunteer. This could be as simple as keeping your streets clean, volunteering at a local hospital, school or a not-for-profit organisation (NGO). By exposing them to the needs of others, they will tend to look outside themselves. Your grandchildren will also feel confident in the knowledge that they can truly make a difference in the lives of other people.
Charity Begins at Home
This is most true in the case of compassion. We usually tend to be critical of ourselves, constantly talking about things that are wrong with us, be it illness, ageism, or mistakes we have made in the past. Learn to forgive yourself for mistakes you have made in the past, instead focus on the learnings you have had because of these, share them with your grandchildren; be kind to yourself, but avoid self-pity. Embrace the fact that you are ageing, also show them that age is just a number. Do new things, rediscover old passions and more. Your grandchildren will learn to embrace themselves and others for who they are by seeing the way you live your life.
Never underestimate your role in making your grandchildren compassionate adults.
What are some of the things you have learned as a grandparent? Are there things that you think are more important in helping grandchildren grow up to being compassionate adults? Please share it here to start a productive discussion on this and learn from each other.
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