Linking Generations: How to Activate Your Father Power


Grandfathers offer a unique and often advantageous perspective. Here's how to tap into it.

I returned home after another long day, anticipating a good meal and then a few hours of R & R in front of the TV. But when I opened the door, evidence to the contrary was obvious: a pink coat, a small, glittery shoe, and then a shriek of delight as my granddaughter sped to greet me. Suddenly I was rejuvenated.

After a lively dinner, we set off on one of our adventures. We watched ants, talked to cats, played in the park and watched the sunset spray the Colorado mountains orange and rose. As we walked back toward the house, she got quiet, and I got philosophical. I thought, "What better way to spend the end of this day—or any day?" Our lives as grandfathers can be noble, purposeful and even, I would say, vital.


Grandfathers bring some unique characteristics that children need. First, we can provide strength and stability at a time when our children are busy making adjustments and figuring out their new roles, and a time when our wives may be experiencing the hormonal chaos that often comes with that stage of life.

We are also models of a healthy, grown-up male (a child doesn't always think of his or her father as male—he's "Daddy"). Little boys need to see what a responsible, loving male acts like, and little girls need to learn that not all males are rowdy and rambunctious, and that they can relate with the opposite sex.


Compared to fathers, our personalities and egos are much less closely wrapped up in the child's performance. While fathers are in the bleachers fighting the temptation to scream at the ump or chide the coach, we can say, "Hey, it's just a ball game. I'm just glad you enjoy playing and that I got to see you play." We've seen how kids overcome setbacks, and we're less likely to blow things out of proportion. We're free to express love unconditionally; grandchildren can fail and still save face.


One of our most challenging jobs is to let our children be their style of parent. We have to step back and trust that the knowledge or discernment that we modeled will be there, buried somewhere in their subconscious, when they need it. Trying to "raise" them again as parents will only cause friction and resentment.

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