The Wednesday of Catholic Schools Week is the day the lens focuses on grandparents.
What do we call our grandparents? Nana, Papa, Grand-da, grandma, granny, grandad, nanny, gaga … I had only one grandparent alive in my younger days – we called her Gran Gran. I am very conscious that some boys and girls will have no grandparents living, and today for them can be a sad day, because they have no recent stories to share. I’m also conscious some have all four living, and they have a very real part to play in the lives of the little ones. Today we remember those living and those who have died, particularly those who have died during this pandemic.
Our schools are communities of love. We especially think of grandparents and the role they play in our schools. Sometimes they are the ones who collect us at the end of the day. The best sleepovers are in our grandparents homes, they are always generous with our treats. Grandparents can be important teachers who show us how to love, how to be caring and how to share. They remember the past and can teach us from that past. They teach us through love. In our Catholic schools, we try to show that love each day in kind thoughts, kind words and kind actions. We thank God for our grandparents and celebrate their contribution to our lives.
And on this day we don’t exclusively just think of grandparents, we also think of older people and the role they play in our lives. During the pandemic, older people, and possibly our own grandparents, were placed in the vulnerable category and asked to cocoon in order to stay safe. These days as the country reopens we are able to reconnect with our older and more vulnerable loved ones. In Catholic Schools Week we reflect on the ways older people enrich our lives. We thank God for their presence in our lives.
Grandparents can be the main carers of children of working parents. In the last census (2016) it was estimated there are 1.2M families in the State. Grandparents play an essential part in the life of families today. On this day we give thanks for all grandparents, living and deceased.