Happy Grandparents Day 2016! Today is one of my favorite days. It’s not that I do anything particularly special. For the rest of my family, Grandparents’ Day is just another checkbox on the calendar. That’s ok with me.

Like most grandmas and grandpas, I don’t feel like I need any special recognition for being a grandparent. Of course, it’s always nice when my granddaughter calls me up on Skype, face covered in chocolate ice-cream, to say hi. But, for the most part, I’m just happy to have my grandkids in my life.

No, the reason that I love Grandparents Day is that it gives me an opportunity to look through my photos and think about all of the funny things that my grandkids have done over the last year. I also love thinking about all the things that my grandkids have taught me.

Now that’s September 11th and Grandparents’ Day, 2016 has arrived, I wanted to start a quick conversation about this. First, I’ll share a few of the many things that my grandkids have taught me. Then, I’d love it if you would share a few words about what your grandkids mean to you.

If you don’t have grandkids, I’d still love to hear what the young people in your life – people you mentor, kids in your neighborhood, etc, have taught you.

Here are a few of the many things that my grandkids have taught me this year…

Talking to Strangers is Natural

When we are kids, we are constantly reminded not to talk to strangers. This is probably a good thing, for obvious reasons. When we get a little older, we have the opposite problem. We somehow find it difficult to reach out to people and form new relationships.

Watching my grandkids playing is a constant reminder that talking to strangers is natural. It takes a lot of effort to change this behavior and make us nervous to talk to other human beings. Every time I see my grandkids approaching someone at the playground, I am reminded that I am in control of my social life. If I want more friends, I need to make the first move.

Silliness is Seriously Important

I’ve never been a good cook. When you combine this fact when my granddaughter’s, um… “enthusiasm” in the kitchen, you have a recipe for a big mess.  The funny thing is this – the more mess we make, the more fun we have.

It almost doesn’t matter how our cupcakes turn out. What matters are the conversations that we have through icing-covered mouths.

As adults, we have a tendency to gravitate towards things that we are already good at. Kids focus on things that they think will be fun. This should serve as a reminder to all of us. Silliness is serious business.

We Can Be Anything We Want to Be

In many ways, being 60 is similar to being 6. For most of our adult lives, we are forced to dance to other peoples’ tunes. We are employees and wives, friends and mothers. Is it any wonder that we become so serious?

Now that we have reached our 60s, we once again have the opportunity to shape our lives. This doesn’t mean that we are totally free. Many of us still have jobs. Most of us are still engaged with our families. But, it does mean that we have the mental space to start thinking about how we would like to spend the coming decades.

Kids don’t think that the idea of being an astronaut or a doctor is crazy. Neither should we. Let’s take a page from their play book and once again see the world as a place of limitless possibilities.

Ok, I could go on, but, I’d actually love to hear about what your grandkids mean to you on Grandparents’ Day 2016. Please join the conversation below.

What have your grandkids taught you about getting the most from life after 60? What is the best memory that you have of your grandkids from the last year? What does Grandparents Day mean to you? Please join the conversation.

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