Well-knit families are closely connected to their wider family circles. By one way or another, parents and grandparents benefit from close ties with their children and grandchildren even if they cannot exchange visits very often. They usually get deep satisfaction when they make sure that love and care flow from one generation to another.
Nowadays, an increasing number of grandparents care for their grandchildren and may even substitute parents. For example, when David Steel’s father died, his grandfather played an active role in his upbringing. He cared for him while his mother, a single parent, worked hard to build a successful business.
On the other hand, children find special love in their relationships with their grandparents, and this helps them emotionally and mentally. Grandparents can become a major support when children face family problems. They can be both playmates and teachers for the younger generations as they teach values and pass on family traditions.
In fact, wise parents foster loving relationships between grandparents and grandchildren. Exchanging letters and phone calls, sharing school work, and making personal contact-when possible-all of these build bonds of love and care between the two generations. Such bonds are very important because they strengthen the family unity. However, a loving relationship in a family requires much more than the feeling of love. It involves loving actions.
A story is told of an old widow named Helen Reeves, who adored her children and grandchildren, all living some distance from her. She always longed to receive letters from them and made daily walks down a long pathway to her mailbox, anxiously anticipating a letter, but she was repeatedly disappointed. In contrast, Helen’s neighbors showed more concern than her own children and grandchildren did.
Only occasionally did Helen receive a phone call from one of her children, but she was hard of hearing and often asked, “What? What did you say?” during the calls. She pleaded with her children and grandchildren to write her letters. Yet, she didn’t receive any.
Finally one day, when Helen checked her mailbox, there she found a letter. She got so excited that she rushed back home to get her glasses and read it. The moment she read the letter, she had a heart attack and died. It turned out that the letter was from Helen’s daughter, who wanted to take her to a nursing home for old people.
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Hershs self-contradictory report
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