Are you a baby boomer interested in leaving a message behind?
Do you want to give your family a spiritual legacy?
Would you like your children and grandchildren to remember you?
How Do You Want Your Grandchildren to Remember You?
When asked this question, most people think of the big things that they can do to be remembered by their grandchildren and adult children. An exciting trip, an expensive gift or help in purchasing a home or a car can all be wonderful gifts and memories to leave behind.
But when most children and grandchildren are asked what they remember about the adults who have gone before them, it is most often the little things they remember: stories, moments, connections, and special traditions. These little memories add up to something much greater and much more treasured than any gift. So, if you want to be remembered by your grandchildren, it’s the little things you do that will matter most.
What do you remember about your own grandmothers and grandfathers? What was special to you? How much your grandchildren remember you is up to you. The more time you spend with them, connecting with them on their level, and giving of yourself, the more special memories you will create together—for them and for you.
World-renowned poet Maya Angelou once said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And this is very true. If you don’t take the time to get to know someone—no matter how little they are—they won’t take the time to get to know you. But when you make someone feel loved and important, they will love you right back forever.
What Does It Mean to Be a Good Grandparent?
What do you want your children and grandchildren to remember you for the most? Being a grandparent can be the most fun you’ve ever had in your life. When it comes to creating a relationship with your grandchildren, the possibilities can be limitless. Most small children are open to anything, so they’re very willing participants. With older kids, you have to get more creative… and with teenagers, even more so.
Make your grandchildren your ‘little pals’ today, and when they get older, they’ll appreciate you even more. Doing things with them now will help them remember you later. Here are seven ways that you can create memories and have fun with your grandkids.
- Create a tradition that’s different and meaningful for each grandchild. If one grandchild enjoys fishing, then plan regular fishing outings together. If you have a hobby that seems to interest one grandchild, then take the time to involve him/her in your hobby. Aside from sharing skills or planning outings, your special tradition can be something simple, such as spending time going out for donuts every Saturday morning, attending religious services together, taking a weekly drive, going to the park or baking their favorite cookies. The important thing is to make the tradition specific to each grandchild. As each child gets older, you may want to adapt the tradition or adopt a new one altogether to fit the child's life. Let each grandchild’s interests determine what you do together.
- Share your passion with them. Do you have a love of theater, books, movies, art, crafting, sports, boating, etc.? Whatever your passion is, take the time to share it with at least one of your grandchildren—or all of them, if possible. Give your grandchildren a better appreciation of who you are. Let them get to know you and what makes you happy. Through this time of discovery with you, they may realize that they also share your passion, or they may discover their own passions along the way.
- Focus on family. When you are with your grandchildren, avoid spending your time together worrying about leaving a legacy behind, which would only result in misplaced focus. If you spend your time living for your family, your legacy will naturally come as a result of your love and efforts in bonding with your family members and putting their needs before your own. Remember, you get in return what you give… and time is precious. So, spend your time giving and you will reap tremendous rewards.
- Find a wrong and make it right. People will also remember you for what you do for others. Is there a cause (local, regional, national or global) that you can get involved with? What is going on in the world that affects your grandchildren? How can you make a difference in their lives by helping to create a more permanent change in the world around them? Allow your grandchildren to remember you as the person that cared deeply for others.
- Build other people up. No one’s life is perfect. We all have ups, downs, sadness, fears, worries, anxieties, frustrations, and failures. Nothing will go our way all of the time. Fortunately, you’ve experienced more of life’s ups and downs than anyone else around you. So, you have lots of wisdom and love that you can bring to any situation. This goes back to that Maya Angelou quote. Your grandchildren won’t forget how you cared about them and how you made them feel when they were down. Help them see the bright side of things. Help them to know that these sad times will pass, and that if it weren’t for the sad times, they wouldn’t appreciate the happy times as much. You’ll never regret showing them kindness and unconditional love and building a personal relationship that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
- Make your grandchildren feel needed. Grandparents and grandchildren can have a special relationship… very different than when you were a parent yourself. When your grandchildren visit you, you can give them a special task to do… not a chore like collecting the trash. But maybe it’s helping you harvest vegetables from the garden or clipping flowers to fill a vase. Maybe you need help with a task that you “just can’t finish yourself.” Even the smallest of tasks can make them feel special, like they can contribute, and like they are important. These feelings are what create memories.
- Tell your stories. Your LifeStory and your family history are important. Everyone loves a story, and your stories will have tremendous value to your grandchildren. Tell them about what life was like when you were growing up. Tell them about the silly things you did. Tell them about their parents growing up. Watch their eyes grow wide with amazement. And before you know it, they’ll be telling your stories right back to you!
Can You Be Seen and Heard After You Are Gone?
Yes! And we don’t mean in a creepy way. If you want to come back and visit or spook your family after your death, that’s up to you. And we don’t even know how much of that is up to your or not. But there is a real way you can guarantee that your face can be seen and your voice will be heard long after your passing.
Of course, we’re talking about video and audio recordings. By taking the time to record your voice and/or your image, you provide a gift for your grandchildren and all those who will come afterward—especially those grandchildren who might be too small to remember you. You can tell your favorite stories from your life, share the experiences that changed your life, and provide words of wisdom and life lessons that will be meaningful to each family member.
Ask your adult children to help with your audio or video recordings. Schedule some convenient times to get together. Make sure your recordings will be free from extraneous noises and any video recording areas are properly lit so that you don’t look like a dark figure on screen.
We recommend making your recordings in the most advanced technology currently available to you. Since technology advances so quickly, you’ll want to ensure that your recordings can be upgraded to the latest technology down the line. Who knows? Perhaps today’s recordings can be transferred into three-dimensional holographic images many years from now. Wouldn’t that be amazing!
For Those with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia
Perhaps you are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Or maybe you’ve seen family members or friends’ parents suffer with these diseases and worry it might happen to you. If you find yourself in this situation, then don’t wait until it’s too late. Start writing and recording your memories now while you are still able and cognitively aware. Your stories have shaped your life, and they can help to shape the lives of those you love too. By taking the time to record your life story, you are giving a gift for many generations to come.
Lastly Helps You Leave a Legacy and Be Remembered by Your Grandchildren
Now that you’ve decided to leave a legacy, you need a place to pull it all together. Lastly.com provides a permanent online home for your legacy to live. Through Lastly.com, your legacy can also be viewed by your family members and future generations. You can upload your audio and video recordings as well as photographs and stories. Lastly also helps you build your family tree, a life timeline, and a map of the places you’ve lived and visited. We make it easy for you to do all in one place.
Enjoy your grandchildren and start creating your legacy today!