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An open letter to a granddad

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G’day Grandad.

That word still doesn’t feel quite right, does it? Sounds too old to really fit. Patriarch sounds better if you ask me. We’re the leaders of the clan, chiefs of the tribe, and while some would say we’re old and only getting older – let me tell you we’ve got plenty of life left in us yet.

Personally, when I think about what it is to be a grandfather, pride comes to mind. I mean that in the sense you’re witnessing the growth of a family. Your family. There’s no topping that, I reckon. My mates who are grandfathers all feel the same. What I don’t feel, and I thought I would, is “old”. Being a grandfather isn’t really age related, it’s about family, wisdom, responsibility and, most importantly, love.

But I don’t want to get too bogged down in feeling soppy and sentimental.

It’s Father’s Day again, and you know too well that things have been different since the grandkids came along. There’s a new kind of pride factor in being a grandfather on Father’s Day. You’re in the deeply privileged position of seeing and witnessing your own child share in the joy and rewards of being a parent. Then there’s the incredibly valuable hand-drawn cards and paintings from school. Presents like that are invaluable. It means they have obviously prepared in advance for the day, that they’re thinking about you, and that means a lot. Personally, I also get to see myself as a stick figure, and that is pretty neat.

Whether this is your first grandchild or your seventh, your job’s the same. Share with them all your lessons, all your experience, and especially all your bad jokes and tall yarns. Be sure to exercise your divine right to start every recollection with “back in my day”, and remember the best thing of all is spoiling your grandkids, and then passing them back! If you ask me, there’s a fair bit of justice in that. 

It’s just as important not to forget about your children, though. Remember, we’re from a different time, and while our fathers might not have been the advice-giving type, I know I could’ve done with the help when I was in their boat. So lend a hand, lend an ear, and keep in mind that even though you’re now a grandfather, you’ll always be a dad too.

So this Father’s Day, make it worthwhile and enjoy the time you and your family get to spend together. I’m not too sure I’m qualified to give much advice, but I will suggest you listen to your wife on how to behave when it comes to being a grandfather. She’ll definitely have a couple of suggestions on what to do.

Happy Father’s Day, Granddad.

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