Kindness is a virtue we sometimes overlook.
As Washington Irving observed, though, kindness is the kind of thing that freshens things up. Kindness acts like a fresh breeze, resetting the emotional temperature, sweeping out all the old, stale irritations and hurts.
As grandmas, we have the opportunity to extend kindness to our own children as they parent, and to our grandchildren as they grow up. A kind word, a kind act – our children and grandchildren, trying to manage constant change and growth – our kindness can make all the difference in the world to them.
Here are some ideas for kind acts toward your children as they parent:
an encouraging, affirming note – be specific about the good things you see in their parenting
if you live close enough, practical help when the flu strikes (you have had your flu shot, right?)
an invitation for dinner – or lunch, or breakfast
offer to have the kids over for dinner so your children can have a quiet evening together
extend hospitality to your in-law's family – include them in a family dinner sometime, or invite them to share a holiday with you
Here are some ways you can offer kindness to your grandchildren:
Offer forgiveness when they fail, and help them clean up the mess without recrimination
pay attention to the things they are interested in, and ask about them
include your grandchildren in the conversation when it's appropriate; when it's not, gently and politely excuse them
stay in touch with phone calls, text messages, and notes; share your life with your grandchildren by letting them know about things you're doing
when your grandchild is talking, listen attentively
If things in your family seem a bit stale, freshen things up with kindness.