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Why spending time with elderly relatives has been so good for me


Anna Kuzmenko | Shutterstock

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 02/24/23

My grandma thanks me for our visits, but my kids and I are the ones who benefit most from her time and presence.

As we bustled around the house cleaning up and getting ready, I heard one of my kids say, “It’s like the queen is coming to visit us!”

Yes, in a way—the queen of our family, my kids call her. My elderly grandmother was coming for a rare visit, and we were busy pulling out all the stops to make sure she felt comfortable and welcomed.

“That’s right,” I smiled. “Let’s treat her like a queen. While Grandma is here, we won’t do school or chores; we’ll drop everything else to spend time with her and soak up her visit.”

My four young children always have so much fun when we get to see my grandmother, and we look forward to her visits so much. It got me thinking how good it is for them to spend time with someone so much older than they are.

These are 3 of the reasons I love it when my children get to spend time with my grandma and other elderly relatives.

1They learn to respect and value the elderly

Pope Francis has spoken out again and again about the importance of respecting and appreciating elderly people. 

“Where there is no honor for the elderly, there is no future for the young,”he has said.

By doing everything we can to honor and welcome my grandmother, my children are learning a valuable lesson that I hope they will carry with them always.

2They enjoy friendships with people who are different from them

My children love to hear stories about my grandmother’s childhood, especially funny stories or stories about times she got into mischief! 

They also love to play board games with her, and recently my son felt like a champion when he beat her at chess for the first time ever after years of trying.

By having fun with my grandma and enjoying her company, my kids are learning that they can be friends with anyone, of any age.

3They get to bask in her unconditional love

My kids always seem so relaxed and calm around my grandmother. This is not their usual mode of being, to put it mildly. 

One time I asked them why she has that effect on them. “She doesn’t tell us what to do. She just likes being with us,” they said. In other words, she just enjoys being around them, and thinks their silly antics are cute and funny.

I was so moved. My kids are very young, but clearly they could sense her unconditional love for them. What a beautiful gift, at any age, to get to feel this kind of love she gives them!

My grandma thanks me for our visits, but I believe my kids and I are the ones who benefit the most from the gift of her time and presence. We love her so much, and I am deeply grateful my kids get to have this wonderful relationship with her.

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