Archive for the ‘Grandparenting’ Category

I Will Never Be A Grandparent

September 12th, 2018 Comments off

No Grandchildren

Although planned parenthood may exist, planned grandparenthood does not. We have no control over whether or not we will become a grandparent. Though some of us may have made that decision by not having children of our own, or were unable to have children of our own, many who do have children have no grandchildren. It is not our decision to make.

For some this is fine. They are happy in life without grandchildren. For many, though, it is something they miss. Grandchildren seem to be the natural assurance of life continued to future generations. It may be the end of our DNA being passed on, however our legacy continues in multiple ways.

When a financial expert asked me what I wanted to leave to my three grandchildren, my spontaneous response had nothing to do with DNA or with finances. It had to do with values, experiences shared, and memories created. Yes, these related to my grandchildren; they could also relate to other children with whom I have repeated contact.

If you suffer because you do not have grandchildren, make space for other children in your life. Many children do not have grandparents or other older people in their lives. You can help fill that need.

  • Are there families in your neighborhood or among your colleagues who would welcome your presence in their lives? Many parents, especially single parents, work long days and have little energy left when they return home.
    • Ask parents if you could invite their little ones for cookies and milk after school.
    • Would they welcome help with homework, babysitting, making dinner?
  • Volunteer your services to the Scout troop, local school, library, church or sports center to help with projects, story hour, or after-school programs.
  • Go to the playground often and chat with the mothers and fathers. Get to know them and let them know you. Slowly find out what their needs are and how you might assist them with the children.
  • If you are blessed to have nieces and nephews, build relationships with them. Plan events with them such as going to the circus or museum or a picnic in the park. Send them notes and speak often.
  • Join a community mentoring program for the underprivileged.

Children need older people in their lives. We bring a perspective and dimension that is otherwise missing. If you want to have grandchildren in your life and don’t, then reach out to other children. It will also enhance your age-esteem.

Bonnie Fatio


Happy Grandparent’s Day!

September 9th, 2018 Comments off


What memories do you have of your grandparents? Were they present in your life?

When my sister googled one of the homes we lived in as children, she discovered that it was for sale, and there were photos showing each room. One of our common memories was having the grandparents come for Christmas one year, which was exceptional.  We rarely saw them more than once a year, when we visited them in the summer. So, having them with us for the holidays was truly special.

Our other grandparents lived close enough for us to travel to spend Thanksgiving in their home. I still can smell turkey and mince pie and feel the warmth and excitement of being with the other cousins for the day. We did not have mobile phones and i-pads back then with apps allowing us to see each other despite the distance, and these gatherings were precious to us.

Grandparents are important. They are the foundation of the larger family, and often the glue that holds it together. Today Grandparents around the globe are caring for and often raising their grandchildren due to the parent’s illness, busy career, and lack of funds for daycare as well as divorces where a single parent must do all.

In a poll of children answering questions about their grandparents, I learned that grandparents are seen to also be good listeners and less judgmental. We tend to be more available to our grandchildren when we are with them. Our love and interest in our grandchildren differ from that of a parent and adds a valuable dimension to the emotional and intellectual education of our grandchildren.

Happy Grandparent’s Day!

Bonnie Fatio

Spring Showers Can Boost Your Age Esteem

April 19th, 2018 Comments off

Spring Showers Can Boost Your Age Esteem

It’s raining !

Spring brings rain where I live in Europe. Lots of rain.

Sitting here on the bus I hear others complaining that “enough is enough”. It has rained for five consecutive days.

I love walking in the rain. As a child I used to beg my mother to let me go outside and stomp through the puddles. Sister Susie and I would take a couple pans from the kitchen, so we could concoct a witches’ brew with wet leaves, flower petals and some wiggly worms. We hated it when Mom called us inside.

Even today I love walking in the rain. Stomping in puddles with my grandchildren is still a favorite experience. Rain is refreshing and renewing. It seems to wash away worries, leaving room for new ideas and expression.

These feelings of renewal and playfulness are important to our age-esteem. They help us live the age we are with joy and pizzazz. In AgeEsteem: Growing a Positive Attitude Toward Aging, chapter 2, page 16, tells the story of breaking loose from our programed behavior and to begin Singing in the Rain to free the child within you.

When we let the child within us come out to play, we use all of our senses. It frees us to raise our faces to the sky to feel the raindrops, and even taste them. We smell the newness of nature, listen to the sound of the rain on different surfaces, watch drops seemingly bounce on the sidewalk, and laugh with pure joy as we also renew and revitalize our age-esteem.

Bonnie Fatio

Children Cherish “Grandparents”

September 17th, 2016 Comments off


Children Cherish “Grandparents”

When I posted the above photo of me with my great-nephews on the AgeEsteem website, I received so many positive comments that I know there are multitudes of you who feel like I do. Children are one of the joys of life.

Children also cherish contact with older people. It is natural for them to gravitate towards us. It is as though they realize that we offer an additional dimension to living. Certainly we are different from their parents in multiple ways, including having time to listen to them.

I listened to a radio interviewer question children of diverse ages on how they would describe their grandparents or whoever they relate to in that way. One of the strongest common characteristics was that a grandparent was someone who listened. Really listened. It was a person who took time to show interest in them by listening to them actively without overt judgement.

What a powerful role this is! Imagine the importance of having someone listen to you without judgement. It means that you are able to truly share your thoughts and to sort out your own thinking by speaking these thoughts and sharing them with another person who you trust.

Bonnie Fatio

A Grandparent’s Influence

September 15th, 2016 Comments off


A Grandparent’s Influence

How did your grandparents influence your life? With these blog messages I would like to include special memories from you of how a grandparent has influenced your life. It will provide an opportunity to share role models and to learn some of the “tricks of the trade” from others.

When I was attending Michigan State University, I would sometimes visit my paternal grandparents who lived in nearby Holt. They always impressed me with their knowledge of current events. They even knew how many points my present boyfriend, who was a basketball star, had scored in the most recent game. I misunderstood this interest to mean that they would like to meet him and suggested bringing him to the house.

I will never forget my grandmother’s words. “Bonnie, if this is the man that you are going to respect and trust, and who you will be proud to call the father of your children, then we would like to meet him.”

I did not introduce him. The only young man I did introduce to them is the man I married, my husband of 51 years who our daughter and son-in-law are proud to have as the grandfather of their children.

Grandma’s words still ring in my mind as I thank her for the wisdom.

Do you have an example of how one of your grandparents influenced your life through simple words? – Words that you heard because the person had listened to you and responded with wisdom in a non-judgemental way? I would love to receive these stories and to be able to share many of them via this blog.

Bonnie Fatio

Grandparents Play Important Roles

September 13th, 2016 Comments off

couple of lovers hold red heart

Grandparents Play Important Roles

Grandparents play an important role in the lives of children around the globe.

In many countries around the world grandparents are taking on a greater role in the care of their grandchildren. An increasing number of grandparents in the United States and in Europe have taken on the role of surrogate parents to their grandchildren for multiple reasons, including the larger number of single parent households.

In sub-Saharan Africa the care of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS is often taken on by grandparents as many of the generation in between has been wiped out by the disease. Without grandparents, for many children there would be no family.

Grandparents are also being brought into schools as volunteers to tutor students. An example of this is Experience Corps which has volunteers in 12 cities in the U.S. The average age of a volunteer is 65 and most of them volunteer between 10 and 15 hours a week. Among the extra benefits is the greater self-confidence children gain as a result of this loving attention.

Research at the University of Oxford, UK, by Professor Ann Buchanan shows a strong correlation between grandparental involvement and the increased the well being of children, particularly adolescences. Children with a high level of grandparental involvement had fewer emotional and behavioral problems.

Yes, as grandparents we have an important role to play in the lives of children, both our own grandchildren and other children.

Bonnie Fatio

Grandparents Day 2016

September 11th, 2016 Comments off


For Grandparents

…And All Who Love Children

 How many times had I voiced the opinion that Grandparents greatly exaggerated their descriptions of their grandchildren? No child could be so cute or so intelligent or so clever as the one they describe.

Well, I began to eat those words nine years ago. Certainly I became more sympathetic towards those wonderful people. You see, I was also about to join that exclusive club of grandparenting. At the time friends must have been saying, “If she is like this before the child is born, what will she be like later when the baby is here?” Actually, I asked myself the same question as I chatted about the grandchild to be.

Knowing what a low tolerance level I had towards doting grandparents before knowing that I would be one, I have decided to make up for it and write a daily blog during this month of Grandparents Day. It is for Age-Esteemers who are grandparents and those who love being surrogate grandparents. Many of the blogs were written when our first grandchild was born. I will publish them as written at the time.

Bonnie Fatio

A Child’s Hand

June 7th, 2016 Comments off

Senior man and grandson walking on beach

A Child’s Hand

“What feeling in all the world is so nice as that of a child’s hand in yours? What tenderness it arouses, what power it conjures. You are instantly the very touchstone of wisdom and strength.”Marjorie Holmes

Put More Energy Into Your Age Esteem

April 26th, 2011 Comments off

Baline & girls

When is the last time you spent 12 hours non-stop and still had energy to spare?  Yesterday?  Ten years ago?

Our age esteem soars when we are full of energy and vitality.   We feel good about ourselves when our energy seems boundless.  We are happier and healthier.

On my hour drive home from playing with my two little granddaughters ages 2 and 4 for ten hours – after my early morning drive to their home – I was still bubbling with energy.  I felt exuberant.

Why would I feel energized after such a long day?  One reason is that I did not babysit.  Instead, I played!   We spent the whole day having fun, doing what we enjoyed.  It was a powerful lesson on how to put more energy into your age esteem.

  • Build into your day activities that you enjoy.  Roll in the grass.
  • Find ways to make activities that you must do enjoyable.   Sing to your spinach.
  • Change activities when your attention span tires and move onto something else.  Make cookies and then paint or draw.
  • Move and use all parts of your body.  Dance with abandon.
  • Create a balance between quiet activities and active ones.  Read a book and then play tag.
  • Take a break in your day to nap or meditate.  Go to sleep after lunch.
  • Drink often and have a small snack in the morning and again in the afternoon.
  • Laugh with abandon.
  • Hug others as often as possible.  This includes animals and stuffed toys.

If you practice the above you will put more energy into your age esteem and feel happier and healthier.  Enjoy!

Bonnie Fatio

Age Appropriate?!

June 15th, 2010 Comments off

Hello Kitty Credit Card

A friend of mine was pretending with her grandchild that they were at the grocery store.  My friend was the check out clerk and her grandchild was purchasing articles of food.  As the child brought them to her, my friend pretended to hit the keys on the cash register.  “What are you doing?” asked the child.  When my friend tried to explain, her grandchild said, “But Grandma, you do it like this”! and proceeded to scan each item with her hand.

Recently our 3 year old granddaughter received a little grocery store for her birthday, complete with an old fashioned cash register and scale to weigh fruit.  It also came with a credit card!  Modern?  Yes.  But how can a brand like Hello Kitty be so age inappropriate?  Whether a child is 3 or 8, how are they going to learn the importance of having the funds to pay for purchases if they learn that a plastic card is the same as money?

With the credit card debts at $775 billion in the US, and the equivalency of US$ 87.5 billion in the UK, $73.9 billion in Canada, and $40.4 in Australia (USA Today, Dec. 09) we would do better to have games that teach financial literacy to children.  We need to raise them to understand that money still represents compensation for an effort made or service rendered.

Do you offer age appropriate games?

  • Look at the recommended age on the toy.  Companies have researched these ages.
  • Play with your grandchild so she understands the game or toy, and you can see how she develops.
  • Ask to see what is in the box so you can remove anything that is not age appropriate like the credit card in the grocery store package.
  • Most bookstores have specialists in the children’s section.  Seek their advice.
  • It is always age appropriate to make a photo book of the child, with or without text.

Remember.  It is never too early for age-esteem.  Age appropriate toys help foster age-esteem.