National Grandparents Day will be 61 years young on September 11, 2022. This day is set aside to honor and celebrate grandparents throughout the United States.
The idea for Grandparents Day was born when Jacob Reingold, the chief executive of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, attended a white house aging conference in 1961. A speech concerning the “new image of the aged” inspired him to recognize the role of millions of American grandparents. There were national days in America recognizing mothers and fathers, but no day celebrating the contributions of grandparents.
On September 16, 1961, the Hebrew Home hosted the first day that specifically honored grandparents. The idea was well-received, and by 1963, the borough of the Bronx adopted it as an official holiday.
In 1970, Marian McQuade of West Virginia began a statewide campaign to establish a day of recognition for grandparents. Her efforts were rewarded three years later, in 1973, when the first Grandparents Day was proclaimed in West Virginia by Governor Arch Moore.
Reingold and McQuade joined their efforts, and in 1978, the United States Congress passed legislation recognizing the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. President Jimmy Carter signed a presidential proclamation initiating the observance of this special holiday.
In some families lucky enough to have loving and involved grandparents, the older family members play a crucial role. Some grandparents provide support by babysitting, running errands, and preparing meals. There are also many situations where the grandparents are primary caregivers and raise their grandchildren as custodians.
Even when grandparents are not as physically able, they can provide emotional support and share wisdom gained from their life experiences. They often show unconditional love and dedication towards their grandchildren.
Grandparents Day is a time for children to connect with their grandparents and become aware of the strength, knowledge, and guidance older people can offer. Pausing to intentionally acknowledge the value of grandparents deepens family bonds and fosters an appreciation for each other.
Even cantankerous and grumpy grandparents have a lifetime of stories to share if asked. Most older people enjoy relating their life experiences to an attentive listener. Grandchildren who show interest in their grandparents create the opportunity for a more fulfilling and loving relationship.