Lessons Shared from One Cool Grandpa to Another
Today's post is written by Greg Payne, host of The Cool Grandpa Podcast.
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Sooner sounded great until it happened. At Christmas of 2018, I received the news. "We have one more present for you guys," my son said with a bit of a grin on his face. My son handed my wife a card wrapped in holiday paper that I guessed was not a gift certificate for an all-inclusive river cruise through Europe. It was, in fact, a sonogram picture of a little boy. Imagine my excitement, pride, and happiness for my son, daughter-in-law, and especially my wife.
That was the day, Christmas 2018, that I heard the news that I was becoming a grandfather. I was happy for the kids; they had been married for a few years, and kids, I felt, would show up at some point. I knew that my daughter-in-law and son would be, and are, good parents. I had—and still have—some doubts that I could and will nail this grandpa role. Don't get me wrong; I am smart enough not to let the grandkids feed alligators raw chicken out of their little hands. I will most likely not ask them to taste questionable milk out of the fridge. However, I fear that there may be some things that I might miss that could have led to a stronger relationship if done differently.
For me, instead of fretting about what to do and not do with soon arriving grandson and other grandchildren to come, I decided to take some action. I started a podcast. The Cool-Grandpa Podcast was born out of two ideas. First, I feel that the grandfather's role in the family is not being acknowledged to the extent that I think it should be. I had this attitude before I became a grandfather, so it wasn’t a late-arriving attitude. Good grandpas do more than write checks on birthdays and show up, then fall asleep watching the football game on Thanksgiving. Grandpas can have a decades-long influence on grandchildren. I wanted a platform, modest as it is, to celebrate and document the impact of grandfathers on grandchildren and their families. Second, I wanted to learn from grandchildren (adult or otherwise) and grandpas about what makes a Cool Grandpa.
So, I began asking: What did your grandpa do with you when you were ten or eleven years old? The answers often lead to comments about activities or conversations that led these adult grandchildren to receive a greater sense of great worth in their middle school years.
With grandfathers, I will often ask, what is it that you do with your grandchildren so that your time with them is particularly memorable? I want to dig into this mystery and understand how I can make sure my grandchildren know without a doubt that I am their cheerleader, their coach, and their confidant. So, I started the podcast to learn how to become a Cool Grandpa or, in another way, how can I be the best grandpa I can be?
There are four critical lessons that I have learned in over 50 hours of talking to people about being a grandfather:
The role of the grandfather is essential. If it weren't, I wouldn't have 50- and 60-year-olds continually telling me about how their grandfather influenced their work ethic, hobbies, and interests, the direction they took in high school and college, and their relationship expectations.
Instead of quietly going about our business and being awesome, let's be active and intentional about what we do and how we do it. Our grandkids are worth it, so say it loud and say it proud, I'M A COOL GRANDPA!
Greg Payne is the host of The Cool Grandpa Podcast. He enjoys discussing the importance and the role of grandfathers in the lives of their grandchildren and families. Greg and his wife, Karen, can be found whitewater kayaking in North Georgia on the weekends, where Greg tries not to get too banged up having fun.