Grandparents make a difference!

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By Beth Pinyerd

Happy Grandparents’ Day! This Sunday (Sept. 8) is “National Grandparents Day.”
Grandparents come in all kinds of forms and ways. We might be a biological grandparent, a foster child grandparent, a god-grandparent or someone like me who’s a grand dog-mother to her son’s pets!
We can thank Marian McQuade for beginning a campaign to establish a national day to honor grandparents. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter declared the first day after Labor Day to be “National Grandparents Day.” The day’s official flower is the Forget-Me-Not and the song is Johnny Prill’s “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa.”
To be in the grandparenting role in any capacity is such a blessing! Our world and the demands to make a living, raise a family and to carry on with all our daily responsibilities can be overwhelming.
This is where grandparents can help so much in spending time with their grandchildren and give them a sense of security. When I am in the classroom, I love to see children’s eyes light up when grandparents are there to pick them up! When distance in miles separates grandchildren from grandparents, there are older people in the community or churches who might just love to help a young family in this way. You just have to ask for this help as a young family.
I did just that when my family lived in South Alabama away from grandparents and family. My neighbors played a grandparent role for my own son. They attended school programs, special award programs, gifted him with their time and love. This made a lasting impression for my son.
Grandparents bring so much history and experience into a relationship with a grandchild. Because of life’s experiences and its ups and downs, grandparents can provide a strong physical, emotional and loving support.
Time spent with a grandchild or grandchildren spells love. They can share family history with their grandchild in giving them a sense of belonging. They also understand the importance of doing activities with grandchildren such as reading a favorite book, drawing pictures together, putting a puzzle together, pretend playing or putting together model cars, planes, etc.
As a teacher, I invited grandparents to help on field trips, class parties, read books to the class or engage in holiday crafts with their grandchildren. I was deeply touched when many of these grandparents would even flex their work schedules because they knew how important it was for them to be available for their grandchildren.
The wonderful truth about being a grandparent is that we truly love our role!
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years, as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd, and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd, who has taught her so much about learning. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures and events by e-mailing her at donnapinyerd@charter.net.

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