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Grandparents are some of the most amazing people on the planet. They are a wealth of wisdom and sage advice, and they have hearts that just keep growing as their family grows.

Grandparents Day is on Sunday, Sept. 8, with 2019 marking 41 years of the nationally recognized day of celebration. Here in the Upstate, grandparents play a vital role in the raising of tomorrow’s leaders. From caring for grandkids to teaching everyone time-honored traditions, grandparents are a treasure to be cherished.

When grandparents are involved with their grandchildren, everyone benefits. According to Angie Gilstrap, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in family dynamics, that involvement keeps the older generation physically and mentally active. And grandchildren grow up more secure and feel more loved when they have involved parents and grandparents.

“By having grandparents spend time with their grandchildren, it occupies both sets in a healthy environment,” Gilstrap said.

Tiffany Ackerman is a busy mom with three young sons. She’s also a full-time teacher, and her parents are the ones who care for her young children while she and her husband are at work. She says her family couldn’t work as smoothly as it does without the grandparents involvement. They take the older boys to and from school and care for their 1-year-old all day.

“If my parents weren't close enough to keep them all the time, we would be paying a crazy amount of money (for childcare),” she said. 

That connection helps grandparents stay active and involved in the raising of their grandchildren, and the grandchildren glean wisdom that can only come from a generation who has lived through more than they can imagine.

Ackerman noted that her father has recently retired and has taken a more active role in caring for the boys. She said he even worked on different lifting techniques to be able to carry their youngest around. She said her parents also stay on top of current events and the latest technology having three boys ages 6 and younger around all day.

As for her boys, Ackerman said they get a healthy dose is discipline from her parents, as they are not as lenient as a babysitter might be. They are also being raised with the same values as she and her husband hold, which they feel is important. It also helps that she and her husband don’t have to miss work if someone has a cold or it’s a snow day.

Keeping multiple generations of a family engaged prevents aging grandparents from feeling forgotten or like they are a burden. It also helps children feel connected to their extended family and increases their sense of belonging, which can decrease anxiety according to Gilstrap. 

“My grandparents showed me so much about how to navigate this life,” Ackerman said. “I want the same for my boys. Lucky for me, and them, they have four very willing and ready grandparents to continue that legacy in our family.”

This year on Grandparents Day, if your family has the opportunity, take time to share family stories and make new memories that all generations will love and remember for years to come.

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