With Father’s Day this weekend, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize and honor all the granddads who mean so much to their children and grandchildren.
Recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau tell us that, of the 72 million fathers in America, 29 million (more than 40 percent) are also grandfathers. That’s a significant number! Just under half of all fathers being honored this weekend are also grandfathers, and yet the role of grandfathering seems largely ignored in all the Father’s Day advertising and promotion. And maybe that’s OK with us seasoned dads. We have had our share of Father’s Day recognition and don’t need a lot of attention aimed our way.
Still, it’s appropriate to honor grandfathers. So this week I have a challenge to everyone who knows a granddad, and then a word of encouragement to the granddads themselves. (Please share this blog with one you know.)
First, to all children, grandchildren and wives who may be reading: make sure and tell a grandfather or two that you appreciate them. It could be your children’s grandfather, your husband, or someone you know and admire. Grandfathers can be powerful influences in a child’s life—young or older—and there are probably many years of benefits and blessings they have brought to the people around them.
Sure, granddads aren’t perfect, and sometimes there are lingering issues and hurts between adults and their parents. But at least for this occasion, focus on the good that he has contributed to his children’s and grandchildren’s lives. That sets a powerful example for the younger generations.
And if you want to make it extra special, get his grandkids involved in that gift, video chat, phone call, meal, picnic, or whatever you do with and for him. Something creative or that expresses the unique character of that grandfather and/or the family is often the most memorable.
Then, for grandfathers, take this opportunity to express your love and commitment to your children and grandchildren. This is the challenge we put out to all dads in this week’s message over at fathers.com. There’s a lot in that blog that also applies to granddads, so I hope you’ll go there and read it, but the last point is particularly pertinent for grandfathers, so I’ll summarize it here:
Father’s Day can be a time to look forward and affirm the bigger picture of your role: your desire to leave a strong legacy that will last even after you’re gone.
What are your hopes and dreams for each of your children and grandchildren? What makes you proud about each person, and where can you envision that their unique interests and gifting will take them in life? When you share those kinds of ideas with them as their father or grandfather, it’s like you’re speaking destiny into their lives. You’re conveying confidence in their future and their ability to achieve their potential.
Your legacy also includes memories, traditions, beliefs and values that you hope will carry forward as distinctive, stabilizing forces in their lives. That’s another way to verbally bless them—to describe the positive things they have been part of and can continue for future generations. Those are probably the best parts of your legacy, and it will benefit your children and grandchildren to hear you talk about what’s important to you, with all the passion and conviction you feel about those values and traditions.
Granddads, find a time this weekend or in the near future to express your commitment to your kids and grandkids, and bless them in regard to their future.
What is the best part of Father’s Day for you? Join with other grandparents and share your thoughts on our Facebook page.