In 1970, a West Virginia housewife named Marion McQuaid decided that America should set aside a day to encourage people to visit their elderly relatives. With help from her husband, Joseph, Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) and many grassroots supporters, the first Grandparents Day was proclaimed in 1973 in West Virginia by Governor Arch Moore. In 1978, legislation for a National Grandparent's Day was passed by the United States Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter. It was decided that the holiday would be the first Sunday after Labor Day. September was chosen to signify the "autumn years" of life.
There are three purposes for National Grandparents Day:
1. To honor grandparents.
2. To give grandparents an opportunity to show
love for their children's children.
3. To help children become aware of the strength,
information and guidance older people can offer.
It's a wonderful idea. Children tend to have an innate sense of the value of grandparents. Grandparents tend to dote on the little ones and much love is shared by all. I loved listening to my Nana's stories when I was little. Her experiences of the 1917 flu epidemic, her years picking cotton and running moonshine, being tied to a tree after their house blew away in the 1926 hurricane were all very exciting and special to me. I loved looking at her "flapper" pictures and seeing her as a young girl and woman. She taught me to crochet and made me grilled cheese sandwiches. She passed away when I was 13. I miss her.
As we grow older, I think we tend to grow away from the elderly. We get involved with our own lives and forget the relevance of what they went through in their lives. Our technology passes many of them by and it becomes a chore to keep in touch with people that don't email and text message. We move away and don't call as much as we should. Many of the elderly languish in nursing homes, forgotten by their own family and friends. Grandparents Day reminds us to bridge those gaps and reach out to the elderly and bring them back into our lives.
I think that it is especially important to get our teens involved with their grandparents. Heck, a lot of teens don't even want to be involved with their parents! Grandparents seem so OLD and out of touch. Luckily my children are involved with their grandparents. My parents have always been their babysitters. We go to church together and speak nearly every day. Still, as the kids have gotten older, I see that they kind of write Nana and Grampa off on occasion and would rather be doing their own things.
So this Sunday, we will work on that. We will go to church, then take my parents out to dinner. I will make a point to get my kids involved in conversation and remind them of the value of their grandparents. They really aren't THAT out of touch with the world. Heck, Mom's a computer guru. Maybe she can help Rock Star catch up in that new Web Design class.
What are your plans? For ideas visit the Official National Grandparent's Day home page.