by Dr. Ken Canfield

Do you consider holidays to be great times to make memories and bond with your grandkids?

This year, with travel restrictions and social distancing, many of us will likely be required to do a “Zoom Thanksgiving” with our grandkids, and maybe your first thought is, “No, thanks.” Maybe “thanksgiving” expresses pretty much the opposite of what you’re feeling.  

It isn’t ideal. Clearly some of us will miss out on moments we have cherished every year. But in times like this, we can decide to focus on the positive and look forward to better opportunities with our grandchildren in the future.

So what are those positives we can focus on?

Your grandchildren, for sure. Be thankful for whatever time you have had with them lately, even over the phone or video chat. You’re a grandparent with fantastic grandkids, and it’s a reason to celebrate.

You also have tremendous influence and opportunity as a grandparent. You play a role in shaping those young lives and creating a strong legacy. That should give you—and all of us—a keen sense of purpose about being strategic about how we invest in their lives and build them up, even from a distance.

Also, you still have a heritage to share, and it can be done in a variety of ways. Just be creative and determined. As an example, here’s what one person wrote:

My grandmother cherished her children and established family traditions. The favorite was Thanksgiving. All the children and grandchildren would show up and attend church together. After we ate a big dinner with fried green tomatoes, she would read from the Bible. At every meal she would pray, even when we were in public. Guess when she died? It was Thanksgiving Day, and we were all together.

What Thanksgiving memories can you share with your grandkids? Maybe something involving your grandparents or other people from your childhood, or Thanksgiving get-togethers when your grandkids were younger.

I hope we can all establish traditions, eat together, and express our faith with our families this Thanksgiving—although the traditions might need to be adjusted, and “together” will be somewhat redefined this year. It won’t be quite the same, but kids can usually adjust pretty quickly, and getting to see, hear, and talk with you will still be great for them.

These ideas may not change your circumstances, but they can help you change your perspective, and that could be the best thing for you and your grandkids this year. Enjoy Thanksgiving for what you have instead of longing for what you don’t have. In doing so, you can demonstrate gratitude, contentment and character for your grandchildren.

What stories, memories or wisdom do you want to share with your grandkids this year? Connect with a community of other grandparents on our Facebook page.