Why Grandparents Are So Important

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It’s the Christmas advert time of year again and I’m in no doubt that yet again, Jen will cry at the John Lewis epic.

A few years ago, it starred an old man-in-the-moon, looking down on his family at Christmas. This one especially pulled on Jen’s emotions because of the close relationship she had with her grandparents. It brought all those memories back.

Jen had an incredible relationship with her ‘Nanny’, who sadly passed away 16 years ago. As a child she loved nothing more than spending time with her, chatting about their lives and passing the time doing nothing in particular except being together. They had an incredible bond.

Our home is filled with her photos and Jen still thinks of her on a daily basis. She remembers things her nanny has told her and taught her and passes these on to our children. She is still a big part of our lives, even though not physically with us.

Ted grew up knowing his Great Grandpa from day one. The bond between them would have brought a tear to anyone’s eye. Grandpa brought out a gentleness and calmness in Teddy like no other and Teddy brought Grandpa to life. Within minutes of being together they were in their own world; feeding each other treats, playing games and reading books together. It was a joy to watch them together and I believe that the relationship was hugely beneficial for both Teddy and his Great Grandpa.

Looking back on their relationship reminded me of the importance of caring for those around you, whether that be family or strangers. Apparently, ‘1 million older people go for a month without speaking to anyone.’  That statistic is shocking.

In my eyes, any awareness of the elderly and the loneliness around us is a good thing. If it encourages more people to open their hearts and give their time to others that need it then I am all for it.

As a man that has watched, first hand, the relationship between his son and his Great Grandfather, I can see just how important time together is.

This weekend Jen and I are part of a small team of people making Christmas dinner for 100 elderly ladies and gentlemen. We have done it for years, one year with Ted in his baby sling(!) and we will do it for many more to come. It is without a doubt one of our best days of the year.

I was out with Teddy a few days ago in a restuarant. Next to us was a large group of around 7-8 elderly people eating. On the way out, entirely spontaneously, Ted marched over to them, held out his hand and said,

How do you do?

I am proud to bring my son up to be respectful of the elderly and care for those around him. He inspires me – something that we think should always be the other way round. It shouldn’t.


*This was first published on Baby Centre

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