Author: Ken Canfield, PhD

One Powerful Thought: Grandkids Are a Gift!

Each of your grandchildren is an incredible gift!  In our research, we asked grandparents to give us a word or phrase to describe their feelings as a grandparent. Overwhelmingly, the most common word they chose was “blessed.” Being blessed with the privilege of seeing your grandchildren grow is truly a gift. And viewing your grandchild as a gift is a distinguishing trait of an effective grandparent, even in difficult situations. In the same survey, almost 15% of the respondents painted a much different picture of their feelings about grandparenting, using words and phrases like: “devastated,” “bittersweet,” “guilty,” “sad,” “challenging,”...

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Smile on Grandparents’ Day (and Every Day)

I believe God smiles on grandparents, particularly this Sunday as we celebrate Grandparents’ Day. Why do I believe this? There are many reasons, including one of the Psalms which describes the blessing of simply living to “see your children’s children.” That isn’t the case for far too many grandparents—who either don’t live long enough to see their grandchildren or, in difficult situations, are unable to see them. Still, I think God is smiling on them as well, even though their hopes and desires haven’t been fulfilled. The power of a smile was deeply pressed into my own heart and...

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4 Qualities of Hopeful Grandparents

Many of my recent thoughts about being a grandparent have returned to the idea of instilling hope in my grandkids. It’s one of the most necessary preventive qualities that a child can have, bringing them security, peace, confidence, and many other qualities I want them to have.  As grandparents, we aren’t typically the central role models or influences in our grandkids’ lives, but we definitely can help shape and motivate and guide them, and it’s important that we do. The current state of our culture constantly challenges your grandchild to wrestle with the negatives of life—especially at older ages...

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3 Ways to Share Your Educational Heritage with Grandkids

If you have grandchildren who are just back in school or about to go back, I hope you realize that’s a monumental event. They will mature and be shaped in incredible ways during the next nine or ten months. And of course many companies and organizations are very aware of this, as they will be marketing their clothing, sporting goods, and educational resources and strategies to parents and families everywhere.  As grandparents, many of us won’t be intimately involved in our grandkids’ education every day like their parents, but we can be a team player with their parents, distinguishing...

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3 Things I’m Learning About Grandparenting Through Grief and Loss

We recently announced a big loss in my life—the passing of my wife of 43 years, Dee.  I don’t want to be morbid or depressing to anyone, but the past few months have opened my eyes to the reality of death and grieving. As grandparents, we know we’re likely closer to those experiences—if we haven’t already—and they will impact us and our loved ones.  So, how can we navigate this journey in a way that’s healthy and helpful to the entire family? If we are grandparents, then we can’t curl up into a ball or go off on our...

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