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The first Sunday after Labor Day marks National Grandparents Day in the U.S. – a day during which we honor grandparents and the roles they play in our lives and society. And while it’s also a special day that allows them to show their love for their grandchildren, most grandmothers and grandfathers do that day in and day out.
Grandparents serve as the protectors of guidance to our societies as the elders embodied with wisdom, which is also an aim of this day to pass on the older generation’s knowledge to the younger. After years of trying to accomplish this day to honor and commemorate elders, National Grandparents Day was signed into law by former President Jimmy Carter in 1978.
The preservation of the family remains paramount to all Americans, which is why when a relationship breaks down, we tend to turn to a known entity – our grandparents. In the Black community, this practice dates back to pre-colonial Africa and serves as the backbone of our strength and resilience.
In general, kinship care reduces stress, promotes stability and eases the transition from living with parents to a different yet familiar environment. Almost a quarter of children in foster care are Black, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, a federal service, and yet, Black children make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, according to the census. So, it would be accurate to say that “Black Grandparents Matter.”
Even if you missed the national observance, it’s not too late to show how much you appreciate grandparents. Giving them a gift or a care, spending some quality time with them or taking them out to lunch or dinner are great ideas. If you don’t have grandparents, why not consider volunteering at a nursing home for the day. Whatever idea or activity you come up with will surely warm the hearts and be appreciated in the eyes of the elderly. Let us all be reminded and give thanks to the special grandparents and elderly in our communities and the great wisdom and love they have to share.