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Grandparents Are Needed Now More Than Ever

Activities involving Grandparents and their grandchildren help to form a solid bond. Credit: Vardags.

One of an apostrophe’s functions is to indicate possession, as in Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

But this grammatical mark does not hold true for Grandparents Day. There is no apostrophe used because Mrs. Marian McQuade chose not to use one.

“Mrs. McQuade did not envision the holiday as ‘belonging’ to grandparents,” the Legacy Project  states.  “She saw it as a day of celebration involving the whole family, a day to connect the generations.”

That connection is today – National Grandparents Day.

In light of our nation’s mass killings and a rising suicide rate, this generational connection is needed by all to learn from and help each other grow into the future.


Learning from Grandmother

As a child, McQuade tagged along with her grandmother as she visited the elderly people in the community.

“I never forgot talking with those delightful people,” McQuade said, “and that’s where my love and respect for oldsters started.”

Those feelings remained as she grew into motherhood – she once described herself as “just a housewife” – and as a result she spent much of her life advocating for older adults.


Grandparents Day

In 1970 McQuade began a campaign to create a day to honor grandparents.  She worked with civic, church, business, military, and political leaders to make the holiday a reality.

Her efforts were soon recognized in her home state of West Virginia when Governor Arch Moore proclaimed May 27, 1973 as Grandparents Day.

That same year, West Virginia’s Senator Jennings Randolph introduced a resolution in the Senate to make Grandparents Day a national holiday.  It failed.

Undeterred, McQuade organized a national effort to urge each state to proclaim its own Grandparents Day.  By the end of 1976, she had received proclamations from forty-three states.

In early 1977 Senator Randolph, with the concurrence of a majority of the Senate, introduced a joint resolution requesting the president to “issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as ‘National Grandparents Day.’”

Congress agreed, and on Friday, August 3, 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed Proclamation 4679, thus creating National Grandparents Day.

It reads in part:

We all know grandparents whose values transcend passing fads and pressures, and who possess the wisdom of distilled pain and joy. Because they are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations.

These words are sorely needed today.

This 101-year-old World War II vet flew 1,500 miles to commission his grandson at the Air Force Academy. Credit:

How to Celebrate Grandparents Day

National Grandparents Day has three purposes:

  1. To honor grandparents
  2. To give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children
  3. To help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer

Here are nine ways to celebrate the day:

  • Create a Photo Collage:  Grandparents love photographs of their children and their grandchildren.
  • Interview Grandparents:  Learn from each other, and this begins by just asking grandparents questions and then listening to them as they tell you about their lives.
  • Play/Sing a Song:  Create something musical and play or sing it to grandparents.  If they live far away, send them a recording or video.
  • Bake a Treat:  Invite them into the kitchen and bake – or cook – something.  This activity not only lets the generations work together – it also allows for conversation.
  • Do Something Nice:  If possible, wash your grandparents’ car or cut the grass or fix a meal.  Do not underestimate the power of the little things done.
  • Record Family History:  Family trees, scrapbooks and videos are great ways to capture an important part of your family’s history.
  • Hold a Sleepover:  The grandkids can invite their grandparents over for a sleepover in the living room or backyard – wherever one’s grandparents feel comfortable.
  • Send a Card:  Email is nice, but your grandparents cannot hold it in their hands like they can a card written in and signed by you.
  • Share Your Life with Them:  Why not?  They share with you; why not reciprocate and just be yourself and share with them?


A Thought for Today

Former Taylor University president and chancellor Jay Kesler once noted the connection that McQuade spoke of:

Young people need something stable to hang on to – a culture connection, a sense of their own past, a hope for their own future.  Most of all, they need what grandparents can give them.”

Today more than ever.

Read about how Father’s Day originated from coal mines.


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