When our sons were young they were often involved in trades. Their trades involved giving an item that was no longer a precious treasure, for an item someone else owned which appealed as a precious treasure. We tried to help them understand that items did not have to be of equal dollar value. One might be willing to give up a pricey G.I. Joe vehicle for a coveted baseball card. This was a good trade if first, the vehicle was no longer being played with by the owner and the baseball card was one being sought after. And, secondly, if the owner of the card didn’t really care about it, but desperately wanted the vehicle. Both parties had to believe they were getting exactly what they desired and maybe even the better part of the deal. This way both parties benefited from the other. (Of course there were times when both sides became angry and the whole deal was abandoned.)
Relationships are similar - both sides should benefit from the other. Hopefully this happens in families and across generations in positive and healthy ways. I am thinking specifically between grandparents and grandchildren. Hopefully grandparents are willing and able to give time and attention which grandchildren need from them.
Both parties can give unconditional love and acceptance. Both parties need this. Both parties can give attention and share their lives without criticism. Emotional bonds can be developed which build self-esteem. Who doesn’t wish to be cherished?
Grandparents can offer serenity and time to be, go and do with grandchildren. Grandparents can tell stories of their own childhood or that of their grandchild’s parents. Even elderly people with memory loss issues can usually share memories from their childhood.
Grandchildren can offer energy, laughter, movement and vibrancy, which older people need. Babies bring joy. Toddlers and preschoolers say and do adorable things. Some children and teens teach loyalty and others patience and justice.
As these grandchildren grow up, they will each gain knowledge and skills which can be used to assist their aging grandparents. I am barely a senior citizen and several of my young grandchildren have helped me better use my smart phone.
We need each other. We can listen to and learn from each other. We can support and love each other. We can benefit from each other.