There is an old saying: If you want to change your kids, change their playgrounds and their friends. The point is that if you put kids into a different environment, they will be influenced by that new environment.
I think this holds true for the conversations in which kids are growing up, and as grandparents, we have an opportunity to make that environment pretty special.
The starting place is to remind ourselves of how important we are to our grandchildren. Consider this series of questions. Which of your grandkids come to mind?
· Who looks up to you?
· Who would like to have more of a relationship with you?
· Who would like more of your time?
· Who is scared of you and more time with you would resolve this?
· Who is watching how you interact with the world?
· Who is disappointed when you don’t acknowledge their presence?
· Who would be thrilled if you asked them about…?
· Who takes everything you say (or don’t say) very personally?
· Who would like to teach you something?
· Who is affected if you’re not having a good day?
Perhaps working through these questions will prompt you to spend more time or interact differently with one of your grandchildren. Your thoughtful attention provides a new environment for your grandkids, one that can influence them powerfully as they grow.
Recently, someone shared with me a saying that was displayed in his daughter’s room:
To the world, you are just one person, but to one person, you are the world.
“Perhaps, if we change our conversations with our [grandkids], they will know they are loved and respected and valued for who they are. They will move in the world with confidence. They will be able to handle different kinds of playgrounds and friends. And they will have learned the skills they need to create wonderful relationships wherever they go.”
—from page 136 of Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids