Mission
The Center for Mission & Academics
Mission Moments Blog

Grandparents as Influencers

By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

Last week Thursday was a special day at Brookfield Academy - we celebrated our grandparents. They joined us on campus for a beautiful day of learning, fun, music, and love.  It was a great day. Some might think that Grandparents Day is just a day to ‘show off’ all we have learned and look all ‘shiny and cheerful’ for our doting grandparents.
I have always had a very different perspective. Grandparents are amazing people who have so many experiences to share, great wisdom and patience, deep love for family, and much, much more. They are treasures. I believe that at this time in our society - we need to wake up and take full advantage of what we can learn from them.  Daniel Fleischman writes in his book, Good Influence, that young people’s “inner core cannot develop in a vacuum, as it needs models of inspiration and admiration.”  Who better than our grandparents to nurture that inner core of our students?   

Young people, our scholars - they want to grow up.  They want to become valued optimistic adults with gifts to offer the world – but they need role models – strong adults that are not looking to be their friends but rather, their inspirations.  Grandparents, along with parents and teachers need to realize how important their influence can and should be on our students. Fleischman puts it this way: “Influence is what remains within when the parent is no longer around, the teacher is no longer at the front of the classroom, the role model has been left behind. What that young person holds on to, and uses to make sense out of life…is the critical notion of influence.” 

With that idea of influence in mind, I reflect on my classroom on Grandparents Day. They were clearly seeing their grandchildren with joy and love. It was all over their faces, their smiles, and even their posture. It also struck me that they were all interested in the learning - excited for their grandchildren’s education, wanting them to soak it all in. Clearly knowledge and study were of high value for all of them. It was hard to miss their enthusiasm and engagement with the content. I am sure the children saw it, too.   What a great message they sent without words, or nagging. It was beautiful to watch - talk about good influences. 
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