With Thanksgiving around the corner, my thoughts are turning toward gratitude. One of the things I am most grateful for these days is my dad. He’s our kids’ sole grandparent and we haven’t seen him since COVID-19 happened. He’s 78 years old and lives in Boston. My dad is a very social person and to say that this pandemic has put a damper on his comings and goings is an understatement. While our bi-weekly calls have been nourishing touchpoints over the past weeks and months, what has been even more significant was an idea that my sister came up with. Something we have been doing for three weeks now.
We have been interviewing him about his life and the lessons he has learned.
The technology is so simple, as we are on zoom all the time anyway. My sister and I carve out an hour about once a week, and with a few opening prompts the storytelling flows…
“Who was a role model for you growing up?”
“When did you figure out what you were passionate about? And what were some of the detours along the way?”
“What was the best piece of advice you received that had a lasting impact on you?”
All these years later, there’s clarity and precision to his answers. There’s a glint in his eye as he tells these stories. There’s a sense of satisfaction my sister and I feel in creating a space for so much life experience to be shared.
At the end of each call, I take away a new perspective about resilience, character-building, and taking risks. The impact on how I parent is almost immediate.
In the weeks ahead we are going to start inviting in each of our children to join the sessions and ask him to tell them stories from their early years.
Channels of Communication
I tell you this personal anecdote as a way of sharing how we all have it in us to open up channels of communication with our parents and other elders in our lives. As I write in my book, Becoming a Soulful Parent: a Path to the Wisdom Within,
We are the bridge between our parents, who carry with them so much history, and our children, who carry with them the potential to touch eternity. We are the portal through which their two worlds meet. What would it mean to show up “soulfully” in that meeting place? What would it mean for us to consciously invite in the relationship between those who are aging and those who are growing, between legacy and newness, between history and eternity? (p. 121)
On Thursday night, November 19th @ 2pm Eastern Time, 9pm Israel time, I am delighted to be in conversation with David Raphael. He is the co-founder and CEO of The Jewish Grandparents Network and to think together about the many ways we can open up more points of connection between us. Especially now during Thanksgiving, when our physical contact may be so limited.
Looking forward to finding so many more ways to stay connected, now and in the future,