Plan now for Grandparents’ Day

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The first Sunday after Labor Day, which will be Sept. 9 this year, has been designated Grandparents’ Day, an official day where grandparents can be recognized and honored.

Grandparents’ Day was first celebrated in West Virginia in 1973 and in 1978 President Jimmy Carter declared a National Grandparents Day. Today the National Grandparents Day Council is a very active organization involved in every state in the United States promoting activities suitable for honoring the grandparents such as essays, arts, contests, songs, etc. all to spread awareness amongst children of the importance of grandparents.

More grandparents today are raising their grandchildren, something grandparents have always been involved in, but it is so wide- spread today that there is even a National Center on Grandparents Raising Children.

One factor accounting for the increase is that females are now more a part of our Armed Forces and these females are deployed the same as males away from home usually to a foreign destination. Whether it is the father or the mother in a single parent home, when this parent is deployed, it creates problems. This is one situation where many grandparents often fill the void.

Organizations such as AARP have been instrumental in giving these grandparents aid and assistance. There is a wealth of printed material informing grandparents where benefits and assistance can be obtained such as the AARP Grandparent Information Center and The Grandparent Foundation.

The relationship between a grandchild and his grandparents is unique and valuable to both child and grandparent. Sadly, there are many cases where grandparents have been forced to go to court to get permission to visit their grandchildren. Certainly there must be cases when a parent has very legitimate reasons for restricting visitation between their children and their parents but it seems to be a sad arrangement.

The number of court cases involving visitation indicates that this visitation problem is all too common. The rights of grandparents are well set out in most states and vary from state to state.

Be thankful if you are a parent and your children have enjoyed their association with their grandparents. Remind your children that Sept. 9 is the official day on which they should recognize their grandparents but every day is the day they should really appreciate them.

There is sufficient time between now and Sept. 9, the official date of Grandparents Day, for the children to make plans as to how to show appreciation especially on that day.

During this time, cards can be made or gifts chosen or letters written, whatever is appropriate in your particular case. If the grandparents live a distance away, a card or gift may be the way to go or a telephone call, but if the grandparents live close by, other options are open such as taking them out to dinner, arranging a picnic for them, taking them to some athletic event (provided they are interested in this athletic event), or just visiting them.

By the time people become grandparents, usually there has been some dramatic change in their world. If nothing else, the physical change is often frightening and a change in the independent way of life may have occurred. Often, their only real happiness is that which involves their grandchildren.

Most of the time, the bond between grandchild and grandparent is very strong, but this is not always the case. When there is no close association, both the grandchildren and grandparents miss out. Distance may dictate how much time is spent together and if this time is limited, both the young and the old miss wonderful opportunities.

Make Sept. 9 a day that the grandparents in your family will remember.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net 

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