by Dr. Ken Canfield

Change happens; it’s inevitable. And when crises occur, we’re forced to adopt some new ways of living and relating. So, what has the COVID-19 pandemic prompted you to do?

No doubt, we are washing our hands more frequently, we are more attuned to the vulnerabilities of elders, and we are maintaining physical distance so we don’t succumb to the virus or become a carrier. But how have our communication patterns and habits around home changed?

Here are a few ways we all might do things differently, whether it’s a brand new activity or a re-commitment to something we have done in the past. I hope you, like me, can view these new experiences as opportunities to grow—personally and in your relationships.

Here are 11 action points or suggestions, and I hope you’ll visit our Facebook page and share your own ideas with other grandparents.

1. Put together a big jigsaw puzzle (300 pieces minimum). Send a picture of it to your grandkids.

2. Get some fresh air! Take a walk, tidy up your flower bed or find another outside chore.

3. Create some tasty masterpieces in the kitchen. Identify a dish which has meaning in your family heritage, or just bake some comfort food. If the dish does have family meaning, capture some of your memories and thoughts to tell your grandkids next time you get the chance.

4. View an old movie, even though you’ve seen it before. Ask your grandkids if they’ve seen it, and tell them any stories or memories of events and places that come to mind from what life was like when you first saw the movie or heard the soundtrack.

5. Get spiritual. Yep, you can do it. Pray for your grandkids and find a time this Easter to tell them about the role your faith has played during challenging times in your life.

6. How about concocting a new dessert? We all have favorites, but there’s nothing like trying out an innovative and delicious treat. Maybe ship some to your grandkids in a care package if the treats will travel without being ruined.

7. Pare down posessions. Go through the garage and closets and identify the important heritage-building keepsakes, then donate the excess. Fill the Goodwill, Salvation Army or other local non-profit with fresh inventory as a way of serving others.

8. Watch some vintage videos from when the kids and grandkids were much younger—even if you have to resurrect some old technology to play them. Save the best ones to show your grandkids someday.

9. Write an old-style handwritten letter to your grandkids or someone else you love. Tell them specifically what you appreciate about their life and influence.

10. What home maintenance duties have you been putting off for the past few months or years? Focus on one item at a time start making headway.

11. As we prepare for the Passover and the most holy time of Easter, just listen. Let the Creator speak to your heart about your life and situation and possible new beginnings.

Regardless of where you live and who is living in your current setting, make the most of this time of re-calibration, refocusing and renewal. Be open to learning and growing in ways you never would have expected even a month ago.

How have you been prompted to change and grow personally or as a grandparent in recent weeks? Share your ideas and see what else we’re up to at our Facebook page.