Today was Grandparents’ Day at Matthews Hall – an opportunity for our entire school community to celebrate the importance of all of our grandparents in the lives of our students. Important for more than just cookies and fishing poles, our grandparents are vital connections to our lives today and in the future.
Why do we set aside this special time for these important people? We do so because we recognize the undeniable value of such intergenerational relationships in the lives of children. Grandparents offer a lot more than just free childcare every once in a while.
Besides the obvious reasons of growing up with strong family bonds and memories, our children can also learn multiple lessons from grandparents about emotional and social intelligence. And, as we hear more and more from the experts, EQ may eat IQ for breakfast in many careers and walks of life.
Emotional intelligence (EQ), or the ability to be aware of, control and express emotions, is a trait that our children watch, learn and see modelled throughout their lives. When they spend time with their grandparents, our children learn how people they trust, in addition to their parents, respond to challenges and express their emotions. For example, if they play a game and see that grandma doesn’t throw a fit when she doesn’t win, our children may learn how to handle disappointment in a healthy way. If they cook dinner with grandpa and hear him talk about how much he appreciates grandma, our children may learn something about lasting love and fidelity.
Researchers at Brigham Young University examined the role of grandparents in child development. The research sample consisted of over four hundred Grade 5 students, who were asked a series of questions about the relationship they have with their grandparents. Examples of the questions included whether they sought important advice from their grandparents when they needed it, or whether they felt comfortable discussing important problems with them. The same questions were posed to the Grade 5s one year after the initial question and answer sessions.
One of the conclusions identified the emotional relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren as significant to the academic, psychological and social development of children.
Children who have grandparents that are highly-engaged in their lives are often found to be more sociable and engaged at school and more likely to show compassion and kindness than those who don’t have a close relationship with their grandparents.
And that is just the beginning! For all of us who have had the great privilege of having our grandparents in our lives, the lasting impacts are a source of great personal connection – and that is very healthy!
As the “parents of our parents”, Grandma and Grandpa were the first “teachers of love” for most of us.
Thank you to our students for sharing theirs with us today!
Ric Anderson, Head of School