Written by: William D. Anton, Ph. D., Founder of CEO Effectiveness
National Grandparents’ Day has been celebrated in the United States since 1978 and officially recognized in a number of countries on various days of the year.
It has been said that each generation tends to get a little healthier, and grandparents who have continually evolved their own beliefs and mental models are in a great position to help their children and grandchildren set the stage for personal mastery, confidence and success. In previous posts we have emphasized that no-one, that is no-one, gets through development with full access to their potential. And yes, grandparents contributed to this with their own children. In that one sense, we are “victims of victims.”
At best our unique developmental history is one of many potential launching pads for getting us high enough so that we can still afford to lose altitude doing the course of our life without hitting the ground. If you had good enough parenting you are likely to have enough inner confidence to eventually challenge your early limiting beliefs and mental models1. One of the things that protects our early mental models from revision later in life is that they conceal chronically endured pain that is linked to a central issue in our life and kept out of our awareness by our thoughts, habits and behaviors. In essence the thoughts and behaviors that ward off anxiety also serve as blinders that keep us from seeing and accessing our enormous untapped potential and inner genius.
This potential is measured by much more than external success, and grandparents can be helpful at critical mileposts. Because their perspective has changed since they were parents, grandparents can broaden the range of choices experienced by grandchildren in the emerging picture of themselves. This can increase their options in determining who they think they are and what they can become. The special kind of love and ballast that grandparents offer is the perfect delivery system for helping grandchildren develop dynamic views of themselves and their own potential.
We are on safe ground in suggesting that almost everyone (sociopaths exempted) enters adult life with lingering feelings of powerlessness and unworthiness. These are almost universal in western society, and are part of the emerging realization that the oven we were baked in differs from the heat sources likely to be faced in life. Grandparents who have done the work to know themselves are able to offer their grandchildren a bolder trajectory than they were probably able to offer their own children. What they have accomplished for themselves uniquely qualifies them to see the multi-generational influences that their teachings have created and soften any self-limiting beliefs they see emerging in their grandchildren. They are liberators of the future and those who are fortunate enough to have them as grandparents should definitely celebrate National Grandparents Day.
Independence Day may be what our nation celebrates for its freedom from tyranny but National Grandparents Day is the celebration of people who spark our ability to take full advantage of it.