Grandparents as Mentors: Benefits of Grandparents in Children’s Lives

Being a mentor to a grandchild is a gift grandparent’s can give freely. Be a mentor to your grandchild! The word mentor is defined by Webster as “a friend or sage adviser.” Mentor is an excellent role to be filled by a grandparent. Parents have trouble filling the mentor’s role. Buried in careers, bills, discipline plus the entire socialization process of children, and other decisions, parents have limited time to act as mentors to their children.

Long gone is the little red schoolhouse where children had the same teacher for several years. Now children spend their time in school learning from a series of teachers whose teaching methods differ. Thus, the learning environment changes as the teacher changes, usually from year-to-year. Occasionally, a child might find a teacher who takes a special interest and follows him/her for several years. But most often children go from one teacher’s style of teaching to the next teacher’s style, causing confusion. Mentors create a sense of permanence in the world of learning. Aunts and uncles are scattered and usually concerned with their own families.

So, enter the grandparent. Patient, loving, and able and willing to make time for a child. The perfect mentor. To mentor your grandchildren is different from teaching your grandchildren. You are not simply transmitting skills. You are firing the children’s’ imagination, growing their ambition, guiding them in solving problems, and giving them a sense of their own worth. You are in the natural position to play the mentor role for your grandchildren. They need you whether they are average, slow, or gifted, whether they are disabled or physically fit, whether they are sickly or perfectly healthy.

Grandparents can inspire children to fulfill their one-of-a-kind potential by accenting the positive and focusing on the each child’s strengths rather than his or her weaknesses. Grandparents have patience that is usually only learned through the years. Grandparents are often nonjudgmental and accepting of mistakes. The word mentor comes from Greek mythology. Mentor was Odyssey’s trusted counselor and the guardian of Odyssey’s son Telemachus in his absence. Mentoring can be a special function of grandparents today. Become a mentor for one or more of your grandchildren today! You can give them a lifelong legacy of love and learning.

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