4. Close Ties With Older Family Members Can Increase Our Sense of Compassion
“We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.” – Henry Ward Beecher
Getting to know an older family member on a deeper level provides you with insight into their quirks and flaws as well as the challenges that they have faced at various points in their life, which can deepen your compassion and make you a more effective caregiver.
5. Strong Relationships With Other Generations Make Us Better Members of Society
The skills of compassion, empathy, and resilience that we learn and cultivate through our relationships with our grandparents and other older family members translate to other aspects of our lives.
Here are some examples of how these strong relationships with older family members are beneficial:
- Through these relationships, we are better able to communicate and develop intimacy with others in our lives.
- Intergenerational relationships can help us define our core life values so that we can live our lives with greater purpose and fulfillment.
- Our relationships with prior generations help us to grasp how interconnected we all are.
Ways to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Older Family Member
“Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.” – Brad Henry
It can be easy to neglect relationships with our grandparents as we become adults. Work, other family obligations, and geography can make regular contact difficult; however, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that the bond remains strong.
1. Intentionally schedule contact with your older loved one. This can be a regular weekly lunch date or a phone call or video chat if you live across the country.
2. Tell older family members how much you value and appreciate them. They may already know it, but it is still good to hear it.
3. Ask for their advice or help with a problem or project. They will feel needed, and you will learn something in the process.
4. Show an interest in their lives and what they are doing. For example, if they mention that their church or club is having a rummage sale or fundraiser, surprise them by stopping by or making a donation.
5. Surprise them with an unexpected act of kindness. This can be a small act such as mowing their lawn or offering to pick up groceries and it is an easy way to show that you are thinking of them.
6. Remember that not every visit with your loved one has to be a major family event or reunion. Invite your loved one to join you during the ordinary moments of your life. Some of the best conversations can occur during a car ride to the market or a stroll around the block.
Fostering a relationship with an older family member is like tending a garden. It takes time, patience, and planning. In the end, however, your efforts will provide you with what may be the most dependable and rewarding relationship that you can ever hope to have.
Here’s an interesting video that you may find helpful:
“One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad.” – Jim Demint
Family is the core of our being. Good family relationships empower us to reach our potential and live a meaningful and happy life. There are numerous people across the world who aren’t lucky enough to enjoy the privilege of having a family. So appreciate the love you have. Appreciate your parents and grandparents and work towards reconnecting with them.
Understand that your children will learn from your example. By putting a higher value on your family, you will send a strong positive message. By managing time, engaging in fun activities and spending quality time with your family, you show your children what is important in life and that you respect your family as a unit and every member individually. This is perhaps the greatest lesson you can teach your children – how making your family a priority and strengthening family bonds can make you truly happy from inside.