by Ken Canfield, Ph.D.

As we enter a new year of life and grandparenting, I want to give you a word to consider as part of your role:


It’s big and powerful beyond what we often realize, and I’m more and more convinced that hope is a vital aspect of all healthy relationships, including grandparent-grandchild connections.

It’s an enduring hope. Often, the hope that we demonstrate tends to be “long-range.” The things we grandparents represent and stand for aren’t usually instant or trendy or even easy; we’re more likely to demonstrate values and character traits like perseverance, faithfulness, patience and dignity—qualities that require some time to show up in our lives. Our grandkids notice through the years, and they find a measure of hope in that.

Of course, there are also ways we can be active, intentional sources of hope in their lives through our encouragement, our availability and presence, our comfort, our commitment to them no matter what.

You can read more about hopeful grandparenting here, and I’m sure I’ll write about it again in the future. But here at the beginning of the year, I’ll simply offer this brief reminder with a challenge:

How are you modeling a life filled with hope for your grandchildren?

I encourage you to ponder that question, as I am, and let it guide your efforts as a grandparent. I truly believe that through our everyday interactions, whether in person or from long distance, we can beam spoken and unspoken messages of hope that will help us build up our grandkids and will truly make a difference in their lives.

How are you seeking to instill hope in your grandkids? Please share your perspective on this with me and other grandparents on our Facebook page.