Our oldest Goddess was watching me try to fix the backplate of our oven. The screws that hold it in place kept popping out and I was getting frustrated. I mumbled something about having to get someone in to look at it and my little Goddess said; “Don’t worry Grandy, Grandad will fix it, he can fix everything”.
That kind of adoration and confidence children can have in you is better than anything money can buy. What an absolute blessing! I mean, the rest of the family know for a fact that Grandad, love him as we do, is not a fixer. But to the four-year-old Goddess, he is a hero.
The thing is, Hubby may not be a fixer but he is a hero and he deserves the granddaughter adoration he receives. He is the calm when chaos abounds. He is the rock when Grandy is losing the plot. Grandad is the one who speaks quietly and plays nicely – always finding the fair solution to sibling squabbles.
He goes along with long and unscheduled babysitting opportunities, managing to concentrate on his work from a home job through the giggles and squealing of tiny girls.
While they may need Grandy snuggles when they are sad or tired it’s Grandad who is the favourite playmate for all of the Goddesses.
It’s time to celebrate the role grandfathers play in the lives of their grandchildren.
That role has changed so much. These days they are more involved with their grandchildren than ever. They have the power to greatly influence their grandchildren’s beliefs and values.
What little research has been done on grandparenting, given their important role as child caregivers, is focused mainly on grandmothers. However, there are some studies showing how much the grandfather role has changed.
Recent Australian research contrasts with earlier studies ( Cunningham-Burley, 1984 and Scraton and Holland, 2006) that suggested grandfathers were distant figures in the lives of their grandchildren. A more recent study shows grandfathers have become more involved with their grandchildren as the demand for grandparents to provide childcare grows.
In that study, the grandfathers interviewed described themselves as mentors and role models, rather than the nurturer role grandmothers are renowned for.
INVOLVED GRANDPARENTING MAKES (GRAND) FATHERS HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER
Many also see themselves as providers of financial security and support. Their generosity can be outstanding. I once worked for a man who came out of retirement to pay for his grandson’s private schooling.
Research has shown that grandfathers definitely reap what they sow.
A study of 351 grandfathers showed evidence that being involved with grandchildren had a positive effect on mental health. Fewer suffered from depressive symptoms and grandchildren involvement led to greater levels of positive well-being than those who were disengaged.
Many grandfathers see involvement in their grandchildren’s lives as a second chance, having missed so much time with their own children because of work commitments.
A European study shows grandfathers are more involved with their grandchildren, actually taking the lead after age 70.
Professor of sociology at the University of Stavanger (UiS) Knud Knudsen’s study embraces around 5,500 grandparents aged 60-85 from 11 European countries.
The survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe (Share) found that while grandmothers spend more time with grandchildren than grandfathers, the difference in participation shrinks steadily after 60. Past 70, the grandfather usually takes the lead.
That study also showed that grandfathers seemed to rely more on having a spouse in order to be involved with their grandchildren, while many single grandmothers were confident as carers and nurturers.
A small study focusing on 19 Australian grandfathers, Men’s Experience of Grandfatherhood research report prepared for Interrelate Family Centres showed these grandads were pleasantly surprised by the joy their role gave them.
All made deliberate, thoughtful choices on their grandfathering role, careful not to tread on the parents’ territory regarding rules and discipline.
These men said the warm connection with infants and toddlers was unexpected, a surprise, which created an opportunity for them to reconsider the importance of family. They said the role of grandfather gave them a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction and joy.
While the men went about their roles in different ways; some consciously teaching and showing their grandchildren the good things in life, others showing discipline and responsibility and others focusing on fun and play, all of the men talked about the importance of ‘being there’ for their grandchildren and treating them all the same, regardless of the size of the family. Each of them wanted to provide an emotionally safe environment for their grandkids.
I asked Hubby what his favourite part of being a grandfather was and he said, “just hearing them say Grandad”. It’s a title you treasure and never take for granted.
(Grand) Fathers – celebrating grandfathers, grandads, grampas, pas, pops, poppies, gramps,
The definition of “grand’ is magnificent and imposing in appearance, size or style. Synonyms include magnificent, imposing, impressive, awe-inspiring, splendid, resplendent, superb, striking, monumental, majestic, and glorious.
To all the GRAND dads out there; the quiet teachers, the careful instructors, the cuddlers, the jokers, the rumblers and the spoilers – whatever your style, you are someone’s hero.
And just in case you’re running out of really lame jokes to share with those grand-kids, I’ll leave you with this;
What do you call a fly with no wings?
Happy Fathers’ Day and have a gleeful week, Tamuria