In the introductory video to My Family Lines,, we talked about the parent stage, and being an online parent or an offline parent. I spoke about the 3 different stages of life that are impacted by My Family Lines. We have stage 1: Home Life with mom and dad, 2: When you’re the parent, and finally stage 3: the grandparent or great-grandparent stage.
I am so thankful that by the time I got to the grandparent stage I had already discovered the power of Leaning Moments. All of my grandchildren, whether on my line or not, have positive predictability for Leaning moments. It’s almost impossible for me to describe the wonderful relationship I have with my grandchildren. This morning I got a phone call from my daughter, and I could hear my 1 year old grandson in the background saying, “pop-pop, pop-pop, pop-pop.” Even though they live a few hours away, and visits can often be infrequent, my baby grandson still feels that closeness between him and me. Positive predictability for Leaning Moments can be established even in long distance relationships. It’s about the quality of time, not the quantity.
Dr. Paul Ekman, American psychologist and professor, is known as the world’s most famous face reader. And, he states that you cannot control the small muscles in your face, they will always show the true emotions of your mind. He said that the voice is just as revealing. I believe that children are sensitive to this, too. You can’t fool a child. They can see the emotions reflected in your face, and feel the energy in your voice.
There was man who served on the board at the Institute, who for the sake of this article, we’ll call John. He held a Phd, and was a very smart and kind man. I sat across from him one day, and he told me about his family. He had custody of his two children, and I knew right away his son, 12 was on his line, his daughter, 10 was on her mother’s line. His face lit up with joy as he mentioned his son, but went down when he mentioned his daughter. Like Paul Ekman stated, you can’t control those small muscles in your face. He eventually opened up to me and said that his daughter was becoming quiet and drifting away from him. After explaining My Family Lines, he understood, and he really wanted to make things better for him and his daughter. I told him that the face that I saw when he talked about her is the same face that she sees, and she would feel that energy as well. I coached him and told him that before he went to her he needed to get himself in gear, and be ready to lean to her like he does his son. When I spoke with him later on he told me that he did as I suggested, and that he was enjoying a closeness with her that wasn’t there before. He said that now she was initiating the Leaning Moments, and this time his face lit up as he spoke about her. I knew that this would impact the direction of her life in a positive way.
As grandparents our roles are extremely important. Just as John learned, we too need to be proactive and intentional about the emotions we are emitting to our grandchildren. Their foundation is greatly influenced by us as grandparents, and our health is greatly influenced by the relationship we build with them.
Many people in history attribute their success to their grandparents. Carol Burnett, who praises her grandmother for not only being her rock, but inspiring her whole career. Oprah Winfrey, who states that, “I am where I am today because my grandmother gave me the foundation for success. Barack Obama, said about his grandparents, “they gave me love, a thirst for education, and a belief that we’re all apart of something larger than ourselves.” Eric Clapton said that his grandparents bought him his first electric guitar. Jamie Foxx dedicated his 2005 Academy Award to his grandmother for the impact she had on his life. Maya Angelou states that her grandmother is the greatest person she ever met. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and the world’s richest man said, he picked up his most crucial business skills from his grandfather, how to be resourceful, and self-reliant. He said that his grandfather also taught him that kindness often trumps intelligence.
To me it sounds like these people were all fortunate to have, what I call, Leaners as Grandparents. And how you treat your grandchildren, whether you are an online grandparent, or an offline grandparent, is a personal investment into your future, and into theirs. We see these stories as history, but what those grandparents had to do was to look into the future for their grandchildren. Each time they leaned, each time they encouraged, every lesson they taught, was an investment into their future.



All articles are co- written by James and Elisha