“While we come into parenting and grandparenting with more or less examined notions of how to do it, the happy task of grandparenting takes us to a new learning edge.”
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Through a series of insightful essays, Marilyn McEntyre and Shirley Showalter join us on that learning edge. As they reflect on the joys and struggles of grandparenting, the authors encourage grandparents to observe, listen and learn from the younger generations.
Unlike most books filled with essays on grandparenting, The Mindful Grandparent: The Art of Loving Our Children's Children does more than just muse on the authors’ own experiences. Each chapter ends with suggestions and resources, giving readers room to grow into their own understanding of the topic at hand. For example, the chapter on “Grandparent Camp” shares Shirley’s experience with her own grandchildren and thoughts of why such powerful memories are made during their Grandparent Camp weeks. She then provides ideas for getting more information to plan your own camp for your grandchildren, and further reading on making memories.
The Mindful Grandparent also goes beyond the expected subjects of getting along with the other grandparents and not buying too many toys. While those things are covered, there are also reflections on encouraging natural talents and introducing racial justice and inclusion. This makes the book a far richer source of insight, and reinforces the core premise that grandparents have an enormous opportunity to influence their grandchildren’s lives in any number of areas.
This is not an instruction book. The authors make it clear that there is no single way to be a good grandparent. There are no “must do’s” involved, only invitations to consider. If you are someone who likes very specific action steps, this may frustrate you. If, however, you are looking for new ways to think about the impact you can have as a grandparent, it’s a perfect choice.
I read this book in tiny bites: one chapter a day with my lunch. It gave me room to think about each topic and how it might inform my own experience as a grandparent. It also gave me the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful writing from each of the authors. If you are looking for a way to deepen the experience of being a grandparent, The Mindful Grandparent is an excellent choice.
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