What? A national holiday to celebrate a grandparent? Is this another commercialized marketing scheme? I sure was skeptical at first until I dug deeper. Then I realized: this is truly an important day and a nationalized holiday.
Digging Into History
A woman named Marian McQuade made it her goal to educate youth in her community to acknowledge the great contributions that seniors have provided for their community. She wanted this to be known in all communities and not just her own. McQuade also wanted youth to adopt seniors that may not have grandchildren or people that cared about them. She worked hard to get proclamations from many states and jumped through many hoops to make this day happen. It finally passed through the necessary steps and ended up with President Jimmy Carter who signed it on August 3rd, 1978. The statute cites the day’s purpose: “…to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”
Wow. That is incredible.
How to Celebrate
So now what to do? Well, first of all, try to plan something special for your grandparents and your child’s grandparents. If they live far away then send them a little care package or a homemade card and drop them a call. If they live close by, invite them over for dinner or to do something fun together.
Once you have covered the family grandparents, or if your children don’t have any living grandparents, try to find a senior to adopt. Do you have an elderly neighbor? Bring them a treat of some kind and a little card or offer to help them with an errand or yard work. Go to a nursing home and see what ways you can help. Maybe there is a senior who goes to your church that you can invite over for dinner. As I write this, I think about my neighbor down the street that I met just once in four years. You could see his sadness and loneliness in his face from missing his wife who had passed already. And I missed the opportunity to reach out — it’s something I regret.
I feel that so often we get caught up in our own hustle and bustle of things that we forget about the seniors. The seniors that we may take for granted that they can take care of themselves just fine. The generation before us that contributed to society in many great ways.