To celebrate May being Older Americans Month as observed by the Administration on Aging (AoA), we have conducted a series of interviews we will be posting on this blog throughout the month. The theme issued by the AoA for this year is “Age Strong! Live Long!” to recognize the diversity and vitality of today’s older Americans who span three generations. The interviews are with several outstanding people who share how they live this year’s theme each and every day, and give us insight into the profound contribution and influence of older Americans today.
www.grandmagazine.com. In 1984, Crosby formed Currier Davis Publishing and published a powerful and controversial child abuse prevention book and it set her on course to be a child and family advocate. Her interest in supporting families led to the launch of Family Journal Publications, a chain of family magazines in the Florida market. Titles included Central Florida Family, Jacksonville Family, Tampa Bay Family, and Black Family Today. These monthly magazines emerged at the head of a national wave of regional parenting publications. In 1995, Crosby sold Family Journal Publications to The Tribune Company. In 2003, after eight–years of retirement, Crosby began research and development of a national magazine to serve the new generation of Boomer Grandparents. In 2004 GRAND Magazine and its website, www.grandmagazine.com was born. In July of 2008, GRAND – The Online Magazine for GRANDparents was launched and in October 2008, GRAND went totally “green” by replacing the print edition with the digital magazine.
Has the meaning and role of a grandparent changed? It may shock you with my answer, but it’s “no”. Today’s grandparents may look and act differently. They are healthier, wealthier than any previous generation of grands and some of us run around acting like we’re still in our thirties (and that’s OK as long as we’re being authentic). I think we’re the same as previous generations of grands, but now we’re going to be around longer doing it. We have more time to “get it right” and / or screw it up. First of all, just being the parent of your parent puts you on a pretty high pedestal to most children. The role of a grandparent has always been to love their grandchildren unconditionally (let the parents be disciplinarians; that’s their job) and just be there to listen and learn and help them fulfill their dreams. To be a gentle life guide and conveyer of family history, philosophy of life and instill the love of nature and family.
Today, we have a huge population of grandparents raising their grandchildren full–time. This is an issue that impacts millions of children and deserves a whole blog just on this topic. Today’s grands are taking on these important issues and fighting for children’s rights and grandparent rights. Today’s grandparents are creating laws that will give them legal rights to be in the lives of their grandchildren, something previous generations were not able to accomplish.
What unique contributions do older Americans, specifically the sizeable group of grandparents, make to our country? A sense of history for starters. The world seems to be turning faster than ever with the digital revolution coming into bloom. Families are besieged from all sides. It used to be that TV was the culprit, but now every digital gadget out there competes for the time and attention of children (and their parents). I think grandparents can contribute a sense of time passing by and literally teach the next generation to stop and smell the roses…the real roses…not the ones on TV or on their computers. With parents working and busier than ever, grandparents can provide their grandchildren (the next generation) with their time and attention. Something that can’t be bought at Toys “R” Us or downloaded from the Internet.
What do you think will be the legacy of today’s older Americans/grandparents? I think it will be that they will change forever the image of grandparents.
What is your personal advice to living the theme ‘Age Strong? Live Long!’? I think we’ve all got the message about keeping our weight in control, eating right, keeping active with physical play – running, jumping, dancing, yoga, whatever it takes to move your body those 10,000 steps every day and enjoying it. Not abusing drugs/alcohol, staying involved, having a purpose and waking up every day knowing that you can make a difference if you take action. The most important element of Ageing Strong and Living Long is having a positive mental attitude, practicing forgiveness of others and yourself. In addition to taking care of our bodies, we must not neglect our minds, hearts and souls. We have the very important job of setting a good example for the next generations; a task not to be taken lightly.