Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Book Review: Grandparenting: Renew, Relive, Rejoice

Now there's a word I'd have brushed aside in irritable haste during the frenzied years three very active daughters lived at home. Even defining "mindfulness" would have been a head scratching puzzle amidst deep dives into self-set goals and challenges: birthday parties, science fairs, sports practices and games, homework help, prom dates, friend sleepovers, family vacations......Did I beat the deadlines? Hang those decorations? Take the pictures? Earn the accolades? Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes. But how many of those hours were dedicated to mindful fulfillment (i.e. deliberate, kind awareness) of my parental duties?
Ummm......not so many......😞

Grandparenthood, they say, is a second chance. This stage of life, with significant lessening of caregiving responsibility, is an opportunity to get it right; it's a slowing down period of adjusting values and reworking what went wrong in the past. We can now be a mindful presence in the lives of a new, wide-eyed generation eager to hear what we have to say, anxious to imitate what we do. This, I tell myself, is not a time to goof things up again!

But how is this done? Where are the guidelines? The ideas? The real-life exercises? Where do we go for a step-by-step map of mindful living that will enrich relationships between grandparents and children? 

Well, HELLO! Right here!.....

Pam Siegel and Leslie Zinberg have collaborated to share a path to deeper communication with our grandchildren, no matter their ages. Grandparenting - Renew, Relive, Rejoice is a 127 page volume offering 52 Ways to Mindfully Connect and Grow with Your Grandkids. Within the pages of this book, you'll find mindfulness defined and developed for your personal imitation. Significantly, the authors don't just toss a breezy "talk to those kids!" your way (like many self-help books do). These ladies tell you what to say, where to go, and how to act once you get there! I like recognizing myself in some of the suggestions and sidebar quips from other grandparents. We've taken leisurely strolls, paper sacks in hand, gathering stuff of nature to take home to talk about, comparing textures and colors. But page 61 has additional ideas for me - activities that enhance "the journey (more) than the destination," and they are ones I'm going to put to immediate use!

We find a pointed absence of purchased fun in the mindful approach. Here is a place where our "presence," not "presents" are valued. Spontaneous, cost-free bonding experiences are true lasting gifts of love, not a shameful warehouse of redundant toys.....

Right under my nose (sorry! 😉) is a fun game of "scent awareness" (page 69) that older kids will enjoy right along with younger sibs and cousins. They'll remember it for years, especially when a familiar smell (grandma's kitchen?) evokes peace and comfort. You'll find reasons and rules for modeling "do as I do" compassion for people and respect for our planet on page 55. And, I like the "glass-half-full" solution on page 47 because it's taken me decades to just stop and breeeeathe when things go wrong. I want to spare my grandkids the same needless anxiety. There's more in the Meditations chapter near the end of the book on tips and tools for calming oneself through the inevitable storms of life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, learned much from it, and highly recommend it. It has firmly nudged me to practice a mindful lifestyle with my grandchildren - one that I expect will strengthen our relationships and shape all of us into deliberate, kind, and aware human beings.

Read the easy going style of Grandparenting - Renew, Relive, Rejoice once. Then keep it at hand to savor week after week, point by point, for an entire year. That's what I'm in the process of doing!

Purchase the book here - at Amazon.

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated with a free product sample 
              in exchange for my honest review. Photograph and opinions are my own.