by Dr. Ken Canfield

I trust all our grandparent friends are being wise during this unusual crisis that is happening in our world. While I see some people adopting a “this is no big deal” attitude, there’s every reason to take this threat seriously—for those around us, if not for ourselves.

One of the best statements I’ve seen recently talked about unexpected blessings during this COVID-19 crisis:

Our entire country is taking great social and economic sacrifice in order to protect the most vulnerable, particularly the elderly. We are saying that older folks have dignity worth protecting.

I definitely agree. At a time when many grandparent-age (and great-grandparent-age) people feel ignored or disregarded, it’s encouraging to see our nation taking radical steps to care for their well-being.

We all need to do our part as well by cooperating with recommendations from the government and health authorities around us. So, the first and most important step is to take care of yourself, using whatever precautions are necessary. Extend your grandparenting years as much as possible. Stay calm and trust those who are making decisions, and lean on your faith even more during these uncertain times.

Second, honor your elders. The world of grandparenting includes people in an age range of 60 or 70 years, with some in their late 30s and some over 100. If you’re on the younger side of the grandparent timeline—or if you’re simply very strong and healthy for your age—find ways to honor and assist other grandparents you know who may need it. It could be your own parents, friends or neighbors. Be ready to help others if and when they have needs.

Third, be resourceful when it comes to interacting with your grandkids. You’ve probably seen some of the ways people have been able to connect despite the need for social distance. One man, who couldn’t go visit his aged father’s room in a care center, brought a chair and sat outside by the window, then they talked on the phone. They were “together” even with the glass separating them.

Here’s another idea your younger grandkids would be sure to love: read a book on video (or video chat) for your grandkids. For example …

Even if you can’t be with your grandkids, stay committed to being part of their lives through phone calls and texts and whatever other ways you can come up with. If they’re out of school, they have time to read a letter, talk on the phone, or visit (taking the right precautions). It isn’t ideal, but you can look forward to getting caught up on hugs and other close-up interactions in the near future. (Make sure to tell them that.)

The Chinese character for the word “crisis” is a combination of two words: “dangerous” and “opportunity.” As our lives have been altered and somewhat put on hold because of the danger, let’s view this as an opportunity to reach out, bless others, and find new ways to keep strong bonds with our grandchildren.

What are some of the best ways you have reached out to your grandkids during this time? Post a comment and see what else is happening on our Facebook page.