Grand-Mother’s Day unleashed!
Your mother should be front and centre on Mother’s Day. But, be sure, you are all bound to enjoy the celebrations even more if granny joins in. And why? Because grannies play such an important role in the lives of families.
Even though social structures have undergone changes over the past few decades, the importance of grannies cannot be underestimated. In the US and UK studies have found that over 50% of grannies provide some form of childcare support. And in a time when, invariably, both parents are required to work to pay for mounting expenses such as school fees, heating and housing, reliable childcare has become more important than ever.
It has been proven that just about all grandchildren benefit from learning social skills from their grandparents. In most cultures, it is recognised that values such as respect, good manners and telling the difference between right and wrong are learnt from as much from parents as grandparents. And we know that a grandparent is someone who remembers even our smallest achievements and very soon forgets our mistakes, providing us with a warm and reassuring virtual embrace!
As part of the essential emotional support and continuity grannies provide, as storytellers, they often act as mentors and historians. So, when next you gather around the table to get stuck into that tender and fragrant curried mince and vegetables that granny has lovingly cooked, give her more air-time – listen carefully to her stories. They can contain pivotal facts pertaining to your ancestors and become points of reference which helps children to develop a sense of belonging. Feelings of belonging boost self-confidence, in that it provides meaning and context that helps to promote the development of desirable social skills in children.
Grannies can also act as interpreters when families go through difficult times. For example, while it may not be easy for a parent to admit that they cannot afford the luxuries that other families around them may have, a grandmother can be a powerful ‘lightning conductor’ in explaining the circumstances. In her wisdom and patience, she could ask for a child’s understanding or even motivate them and ask them to pitch in and earn their own money so that they can contribute to expenses.
So, no matter how you call her, gran, nkgono, gogo, koko or noni, honour her together with your mom on this special day. But whatever you do, don’t forget to ask her to share that legendary curry recipe so that you, yourself will become famous in your hood for the curry you cook on Friday’s, high days and holidays – and especially on Mother’s Day!