For many of us, Grandma and Grandpa were our first caretakers. They were the ones who took us to school or watched over us when Mom and Dad were unavailable. For others, it was a praying grandmother who first introduced them to Jesus, church, and the "sweet bye and bye." And while it's not as widely recognized as Mother's Day or Father's Day, National Grandparents Day is on this Sunday, September 10.
WHY GRANDPARENTS DAY?
Marian McQuade was a grandmother herself, with 43 grandchildren, when she began a campaign in 1970 to set aside a special day of recognition for grandparents. Marian's goal was simple: alleviate loneliness. As an advocate for the elderly, she was concerned by those she encountered in nursing homes with no one to visit them. It took her three years but in 1973, the first Grandparents Day was celebrated in West Virginia. It became a national commemorative day in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter issued a resolution declaring the second Sunday of September as National Grandparents Day.
So this Grandparents Day, in honor of your grandparents (and Marian McQuade), here are four ways to help your grandparents or an elderly neighbor feel less alone and more "grand."
1. SCHEDULE A VISIT:
No matter where you live, take some time to plan a visit with your grandparents or set aside a time to call them to talk about what's going on in their lives. If your grandparents are deceased, you can visit their grave, send flowers, or reflect on a special moment you shared with them.
2. WALK IT OUT:
Take your grandparents for a brisk walk or another kind of physical activity to help increase their heart rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of healthy activities here.
3. TAKE A #GRANDIE:
Snap a quick #selfie, or 100, with your grandparents to help them live their best Instagram or Snapchat life. Make sure you use Clarendon a.ka. America's favorite filter.
4. BRING THEM TO CHURCH:
Studies show that churchgoing is passed down through families from one generation to the next. If your grandparent went to church, not only are you are more like to attend but you probably would not have become a believer without their guidance. Take the time to return the favor this Sunday and give Access-A-Ride a break. You can bring them to their church or introduce them to your church and the brave new world of pastors in skinny jeans. #BeABringer
No matter what you choose to do this Sunday, take some time to thank Grandma and Grandpa for the unique role they've played in your life.