This is Richard writing today to share some insights about grandparenting — and more specifically about grandfathering. I have been thinking about and working hard lately on a book called "Being a Proactive Grandfather," which will be published in a couple of weeks, and I thought I would share with our Deseret News readers a little inside information on the book and on the subject.
It was a couple of years ago as I first sat down to start writing the book that several things became obvious to me.
Linda and Richard Eyre with several of their grandchildren at Bear Lake. | Family photo
1. Generally speaking, grandkids are the most delightful, joyful and wonderful part of this season of life.
2. Grandparenting is very different than parenting. We don’t have the same responsibility or stewardship as parents, but we do have all kinds of opportunities to help and to make a positive difference in our grandkids' lives.
3. But we have to do it thoughtfully and carefully, and in sync with the parents. We need to work with the parents, not around them.
4. We all love grandfathering, but most of us aren’t sure if we are any good at it. We know we are grandfathers, but we are not clear on exactly what a good grandfather is.
5. Granddads don’t want some big, thick, prescriptive book on the science of grandparenting, they want some simple “recopies” that make the role more meaningful and even more fun.
6. We know it is important, and worthy of real focus and effort. Our friend Nolan Archibald, former CEO of Black and Decker, wrote a cover blurb for the book that captured this sentiment. He said, “Why not approach grandfathering with the same drive and determination we put into our careers?”
7. We know that our grandkids are the most important thing we will leave behind. I may be a little peeved at Danny Ainge for taking our Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics, but I love what he says on the book’s cover: “Our grandkids are our legacy (and we need to) maximize our influence as grandfathers.”
8. Most granddads don’t go out shopping looking for a book on grandfathering, but maybe their wives will.
It turned out that writing the book has been a pleasure and a joy. It gave me organized time to think about and more fully appreciate my own grandkids and it gave me the chance to consider what kind of a grandpa I wanted to be.
It also caused me to think a lot about all that my grandkids do for me: They delight me; they keep me young; they give me hope for the future; they assure that my life will never be boring; they make me feel like I have accomplished something in my life; and they keep me laughing! For all of this and more, I want to be the best granddad I can possibly be.
Here are a few of my grandfathering conclusions:
• It’s all about communication, and part of that is learning to communicate on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whatever they are using.
• They need our confidence more than anything else — and we are well positioned to be their champions.
• We can contribute to their identity and their resilience by being the ones to tell them stories about their great-grandparents and other courageous ancestors.
• We can help them financially, but if we do, we need to do so intelligently and in ways that don’t create entitlement or undermine their independence — things like matching grants and bonuses for jobs well done.
• Knowing all we can about their interests individually is just as important as their knowing about yours.
I’ve been particularly anxious to share this book with our Deseret News readers because I know so many of us share the same values and the same family priorities.
But irrespective of whether you want the book, let’s all agree on this: The role and title and opportunity of “grandfather” is or can be one of the very happiest and most fulfilling parts of our life, and it deserves a little focus, a little thought, a little analysis, a little strategy and a lot of priority.
Note: We have arranged with our publisher a half-price, early bird special we can now pass on to you: Go to familius.com/eyre-special and use the coupon code EYREFRIEND.