Our Lakeside Connect blog is intended to surface issues that are relevant to the health and well-being of our children and teenagers. Lakeside is committed to the healthy emergence of children, teenagers and their families. I firmly believe that the way we treat and nurture our children is directly linked to the health and future of our country. Lakeside’s staff of 300 is deeply involved in helping our whole regional community of youth have successful and fulfilling lives. That impact to them and their families is dynamic and meaningful.
Sometimes special life events with our own children make these issues a bit more personal. I have been extremely privileged to have two great sons of my own who are now in their 30’s. One of the joys for me has been to watch them grow into young men, marry and embark on new adventures of their own while I have the chance to support, mentor and be an encouragement to them in their life pursuits.
A new part of that adventure has just become a reality in our family. This past week we were able to welcome into our family our first little granddaughter, Claire Allison. What a miraculous experience to watch new life come into existence before our eyes and to see her petite little body begin to emerge as a new member of our family.
It made me think of all the grandparents and their vital role in the lives of their children and grandchildren. My children were privileged to have their grandparents live with us for 20 years and the benefits and strengths of having grandparents nearby enriched us all and gave my children a strong sense of family. They still tell funny and meaningful stories about their grandparents. They quote, remember and honor them.
Having a grandchild adds such joy to our lives as we celebrate this new little one. But it also adds a family stewardship to care for her and be a strong support for her parents. Parenting is such a challenging endeavor and our young parents need a great deal of support through all the ages and stages of the growth and development of their children.
I acknowledge that for many children they do not have much exposure to grandparents. For other children their grandparents are their primary caregivers. I believe that having a relationship with your grandparents adds a sense of family rootedness and stability. It strengthens their identity and the affirmation and love of grandparents has a significant impact that lasts a lifetime.
I now have another identity of my own as I embark on working through what it means to be an affirming and supportive grandparent. I join all of our grandparents as we work together to help our children’s children find a meaningful, stable and enriching family life. I can’t think of a better role to enjoy! I look forward to all the journeys that lie before us as we embark on this new aspect of family growth.