Photo : PR Kavitha, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

I still reminisce about my favourite ‘vhoddli Mai’ jika ami ‘Ollemai mhunntalim’. Tossing in her lap was the rule of the day. And at every meal eating a small portion of ‘her’ food from her hand was a must which she willingly did. Today sitting in the lap of grandparents is and has been replaced by the mobile. For I have witnessed in many families, the children are engrossed playing and listening to cartoons and reels while the grandparent sits idle watching over them! Yes, the same has been replaced by modern gadgets.

The word gran-pa, gran-ma, or nana, nani is losing its occurrence in our day today life. There are unavoidable circumstances that leave no option for the parents to migrate to cities due to educational facilities whereas some do it just because they can’t live together for varied reasons… so the two have shifted residence and its impact is borne by the growing child who misses out on such important care and values; misses out the life of wisdom lived by the experienced grandparents, who in fact are models for ideal living. The love, care, hugs and cuddling of the grandparents is missed out by the growing toddler. Yes, the very important vitamins; the important minerals; which fill up the empty spaces of our unsatisfied and unmet needs. And its consequence is spotted in the growing teens at the young age when they are found hanging out, looking for it in different places and with different…

Privileged I would say those born with the treasure of the grandparents around them. In favour there is no replacement for the grandparental existence or charisma. Though the child at times learns to speak their dialect and likes them Xamai koxi uloita! For the child spends most of his/her time with them. But, I would give credit to my grandparents and those like them for they had their share in what I am today. We were lucky enough to have grandparents nearby. Even today it would be great to set up regular play time so that these important grandparent times can be part of your child’s regular routine. This opportunity to play and have fun together supports your child’s learning and healthy development. These frequent interactions will help them develop a strong bond.

Nowadays, in a given situation where both the parents work, the onus is on the grandparents who offer and surrender their full time and energy in taking care of the children while there are also parents who don’t allow the grandparents, to cuddle their child being possessive with a rude attitude and unbecoming behaviour. Though we don’t find any account of Jesus with his grandparents, surely, in the growing up of Jesus who grew in age and wisdom also must have had their share of upbringing.

There are times grandparents live far away, but if this is the case you can still engage them in the lives of your children. We are lucky to live in an age where there is video-calling, voice-recording, where one can make the presence felt from any part of the world. Encourage long-distance grandparents to find the ways that work best for them to stay connected with your children. The blessings after the family prayer with lifting ‘Tum vhoddddddlo za’! ‘Tum vhoddddle za’!

So much joy those words gave while our faces glowed..!!! I notice the exuberance on the little children when I lift them after the blessings even my grandniece bubbles with joy and feels happy.

St. Anne and St. Joachim the grandparents of Jesus whose feast we celebrate on 26th July, is a day celebrated in honour of the grandparents, to show bond between grandparents and grandchildren. The grandparents play an important role in the family and the life of grandchildren. For instance the grandparents take care of single-parents families and the working parents and this is also prevalent in other countries. In cases where parents are unwilling or unable to provide adequate care for their children (e.g., death of the parents), grandparents often take on the role of primary caregivers. Even when this is not the case, and particularly in traditional cultures, grandparents often have a direct and clear role in relation to the raising, care and nurture of children.

Shouldn’t we shower our love, care, concern, appreciation and gratitude by little acts of being sensitive towards them before they leave this earthly dwelling?

Article by Sr. Molly Fernandes sfn


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