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There are a few things that you will never know until you come to that phase in life.
Like how you will never fully appreciate what your parents did for you until you yourself have a child.

And I think another of these things is that you will never fully appreciate how you should have behaved towards your children until you become a grandparent.

I, of course, will not know this for sure until I myself have grandchildren, but it seems to hold true when I look at how amazing my own mother and my own mother in law, for example, are with their grandchildren.

On a website I visited recently they had asked 8-years old the question: “What is your grandparents’ role in your life?”

The answers were, as you could expect, adorable.

They said things like:

When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.”

“They don’t say, “Hurry up”.”

“When they read to us, they don’t skip. They don’t mind if we ask for the same story over again.”

Adorable – yet serious.

One said: “Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don’t have television, because they are the only grown ups who like to spend time with us.”

It’s like grandparents have understood that the one thing that kids should be given is time.

An advantage of having kids late in life is that you somehow get a little of that “grandparent wisdom” into you already as a parent.

(My mum just told me that when she was the age I am now (47) all of her three children had already moved out of the house (In comparison my oldest child is 5 and my youngest is just born… It was a realisation that made us both feel very, very old…)

When I see the patience, presence and commitment grandparent approach children with I get inspired.
Inspired to try to get some of that attitude towards my own parenting.

And I think this is extra true for fathers who tend to spend shorter time periods with their kids than mothers. (You can say “it’s easy for grand parents to do, they are usually retired.” But that is why it is so important for fathers to take paternity leave. To get more time with the children.)

The word “Grand” literally means: “magnificent in appearance” or “denoting the largest or most important item of its kind.’
The synonyms are: “magnificent, impressive, awe-inspiring, splendid and superb.”

That is what we should aim for as parents: To be magnificent, impressive, awe-inspiring, splendid and superb.

We should be grand.
Grand parents.

We should slow down and spend more time with our kids.
They deserve it.
After all, our children are grand children.


Fredrik Haren

A blog about the magic of fatherhood and paternity leave. Written by Fredrik Haren, professional speaker and author who is now on semi-paternity leave with his three children.

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