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Billy Crystal gives advice on family: 'We just really loved being parents'

Published: Tuesday, May 28 2013 9:27 a.m. MDT

Billy Crystal, left, and Janice Crystal attend the Backstage at the Geffen gala donor dinner at the W Hotel on Monday, May 13, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss, Associated Press) Billy Crystal, left, and Janice Crystal attend the Backstage at the Geffen gala donor dinner at the W Hotel on Monday, May 13, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss, Associated Press)

Actor and comedian Billy Crystal says his family is the most important thing in his life.

In a recent article from The Guardian, Crystal opened up about the joys of being a parent and grandparent.

From raising his own children to now watching his grandchildren grow up, Crystal has learned the importance of kids being raised in a happy household.

"They need to be loved and supported in their dreams," Crystal said. "I think it's like a relay race. You run and you hand over the baton and your kids pick it up. They take the stuff they want, throw the rest away and keep running. That's what life is about."

Reflecting back on his own parenting, Crystal also gives some advice about raising young children.

"I think my wife (Janice Goldfinger) and I were good parents because we didn't want to be our kids' friends," Crystal said. "We knew we had to be their parents. A lot of parents nowadays try to be friends with their kids, and I don't think that works."

Crystal expressed that a different relationship, and friendship, will develop between parents and children as children grow. But as a grandparent, Crystal is adamant about having fun. As a child, Crystal never had much interaction with his grandparents, so he has made the choice to be different with his own grandchildren.

"My grandparents invented joylessness," Crystal said. "They were not fun. I've already had more fun with my grandchildren than my grandparents ever had with me."

Although Crystal didn't have a close relationship with his grandparents, he did recognize the respect he always had for them and their wisdom. With his own grandchildren, Crystal says his role is to play with them, love them and spoil them.

"When they understood that I was Mike Wazowski in Monsters Inc, I had to talk like him for six months. It drove me crazy," Crystal said.

Most of all, Crystal emphasized the importance of families connecting and staying together. Now a grandfather of four, Crystal expressed the happiness family has brought him.

"When my daughter Jenny was pregnant with our first grandchild, Ella (now 10), it was very profound for me because Jenny is my firstborn daughter," Crystal said. "One night I wrote down all the things I was waiting to do with my little granddaughter and it became a book, 'I Already Know I Love You.' It was one of those really lovely things in life."

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