The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

From the Head of Junior School

The Value of Grandparents

Late American humorist, Sam Levenson, said wryly, "The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy." Everything in life can be laughed at, but it also must be acknowledged that grandparents are crucially important figures, both to their grandchildren and adult children, but also to society as a whole.

My children are very fortunate, much more fortunate that I was. They have their grandparents close by. My grandparents were 3000km away, at a time when the only way to remain in contact with them was via telephone. I get to see first-hand, each time my children interact with their grandparents, the value of their relationship.

This relationship reflects a sense of comfort and security that is powerful and cannot be underestimated. Grandparents give children a different kind of love, perhaps more indulgent, that children respond to. This love is second in importance only to that of a parent but is usually less conditional and more empathic. Grandparents enjoy the moment and may turn more of a blind eye to the minor things a grandchild may do. Grandchildren know this and revel in it. It provides them a different type of freedom to be themselves, to stretch some boundaries while knowing the love of their grandparent will not waiver.

We see each day the valuable and supportive role grandparents play in the lives of their children and the lives of their grandchildren. Some grandparents collect their grandchildren from school, provide valuable after school care until mum or dad get home from work. Others will provide sleep overs to give the parents some away time. These arrangements, while invaluable to parents, afford grandparents the opportunity to spend quality time with their grandchildren.

In my family, having my wife's parents on hand and willingness to collect our children from school, take them to music lessons and sports training, means we can finish our day knowing that our children are happy, looked after and engaged in activities that are not limited by our work schedules. For both my children, there has not been a game or event they have taken part in that has not been witnessed by one or both of their grandparents. This is something that is greatly appreciated by our children and my wife and I.

This time spent with a grandparent provides so much to our children. Not only does it offer unconditional love, it gives our children a mentor who can help with problems. Grandparents will champion for their grandchildren, be someone they can talk to and be someone who will stand by them through thick and thin. They provide a window into their parent's childhood and promote family traditions. Grandchildren get to experience their grandparents' sense of adventure, kindness and humour while benefiting from their patience.

I can go on about the benefits of the relationship between a child and their grandparents but its main role is to complete the circle of love. It tells children that the love of a grandparent is abundant.

This week, the Junior School will welcome over 200 grandparents to the College as part of our annual Grandparents' Day celebrations. It is an opportunity for the boys to show off their grandparents to one another and to share some time at school with them. It is also our opportunity as a College to say thank you to the Grandparents of our wonderful boys for the invaluable role they play in assisting with the raising of the fine young men of our school.

Mr John Stewart
Head of Junior School