How to interview your grandparents

Every day, I read what journalists around the world are reporting about grandparents and their families. Here are some stories that gripped me recently.

IT’S TIME TO RECORD OUR GRANDPARENTS’ HISTORY

I’m so sorry that I didn’t sit all three of my grandparents down for long, intimate, recorded interviews. Don’t let your grandkids make the same mistake!

There’s a new app that makes it easy for them to interview you with a smartphone; the conversation can even be uploaded to the web, shared, and preserved in the Library of Congress.

“Imagine it: During the holidays, instead of using gadgets to ignore each other, we might use them as an excuse to look each other in the eye and listen.”

The Wall Street Journal • November 17, 2015

50 CENT: “MY GRANDMOTHER WAS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE”

Photo by The Wall Street Journal.

Photo by The Wall Street Journal.

“At 16, I had already been involved in street life for years,” says the rapper 50 Cent, who was raised by his grandmother after his mother’s death.

“I was aggressive enough to get by on the street—but then I’d go home and be my grandmother’s baby. I was outside hustling but I still had to talk my grandmother into letting me walk home from school myself.”

The Big Issue • November 3, 2015

CLOSE GRANDPARENT-GRANDCHILD RELATIONSHIPS HAVE HEALTHY BENEFITS

“In the last year, significant new findings have emerged to shed light on the important benefits of children’s relationships with their grandparents—for the people on both sides of the equation.”

One study, by Boston College sociologist Sara Moorman, showed that emotionally close ties between grandparents and adult grandchildren are associated with fewer depressive symptoms in both groups.

“Grandparents have a wealth of experience—they’ll often tell stories about their lives and how things worked when they were young, and once kids become adults, they’re able to maximize those lessons,” says Moorman, who dedicated her research to her own grandmother.

Other studies published this year have suggested that grandparents obtain cognitive benefits from caring for their grandkids and that teens who spend time with their grandparents have fewer behavioral problems than their peers.

The Boston Globe • December 14, 2015

WHY YOU SHOULD VACATION WITH YOUR GRANDKIDS

“Today, many grandmothers are quite fit, well traveled, retired from highly accomplished careers, financially capable, and single,” says Martha Winters Gilliland, who has taken dozens of trips—most of them outdoor adventures—with her grandkids over the past 12 years.

“My grandmother shared her knowledge on how to crochet. I am a geologist and engage my grandchildren in discussions about the origin of the volcanoes and canyons.”

“To be sure, these are gifts to my grandchildren and their parents, but the value to me exceeds the value to them,” she says. “The adventures motivate me to stay fit, offer me a place to share my knowledge, and provide a place to give and receive love.”

Next Avenue • December 8, 2015