EP – 93 Grandparents Academy

Our conversation with Aaron Larsen

Aaron Larsen stops by The Cool Grandpa Podcast to talk about his fantastic grandparents. Grandparents who not only were there to love and encourage Aaron but who also gave him needed proddings. Aaron was a young man just out of school, and his confidence when was shaken. Through love and support, his grandparents helped him to discover where he should be receiving his value and self-worth in life.

We dive into Aaron’s experience with living with his grandparents. He shares several examples of how his grandparents intentionally built connection points around Aaron’s interests. Aaron discusses how his Grandpa Grit, after suffering a stroke, helped Aaron find his voice through the connection of music.

Aaron also discusses the creation and purpose of Grandparents Academy. Grandparents Academy is a place a resource that enables grandparents to use existing technology and applications to build connection points with their grandchildren. The resources available at Grandparents Academy include guides, videos, and blog posts. These resources have reached millions of grandparents, and thousands have enrolled from all over the globe.

September 11th through the 17th, Grandparents Academy will host a complete week-long celebration of grandparents. This week-long event will feature expert interviews and training. Click on the affiliate link below or HERE to register for this event.

After you have listened to this episode, please remember to like and subscribe to the show if you haven’t already. It would also be fantastic if you would share this podcast with a friend. Sharing is the best way to help me spread the word about the importance of grandfathers in the lives of their grandchildren and families.

Links

Click HERE to visit GrandparentsAcademy.com, and be sure to register for your Downloadable guides and free resources. 

To connect with Grandparent Academy on Facebook, click HERE. Aaron is creating fun and inspiring posts to share with the family.

Click HERE to view a video of Aaron singing with his band from ten years ago. It is great to see how his grandfather encouraged him to get into music.

Click HERE to register for the week-long event that Grandparents Academy hosts from September 11-17.

Click on this link to learn more about Peekabond.

Click on this link to learn and sign up for Readeo.

EP – 89 Being an Example

Our conversation with Winn Egan

The one and only Winn Egan is back for another conversation with us. In this episode, Winn and I dive into his personal experience with being a grandfather.

You might remember that Winn was a previous guest on the show where we discussed the book, Grandparenting on Purpose, that he wrote with his wife, Linda.

In our conversation, we discuss his memories of learning that he was becoming a grandfather for the first time and how that has continued to impact him now that his first grandchild is in his 30s.

One of the topics I enjoyed discussing with Winn was his perspective on how grandfathers can be role models for their grandchildren regarding their spiritual development and life philosophy. We dive into how grandfathers can have as much or more of an impact on our grandchildren through actively living our principles, morals, and spiritual side as we can by just talking about these values.

You will also hear Winn interacting with his Great Grand Daughter firsthand as she opens up a heart-felt gift that Winn sent her from his trip to Ireland. There is nothing like having a loving impromptu call from a great-granddaughter during a podcast. This event might be a first in all of Podcast history. 🙂 It is a first for The Cool Grandpa Podcast.

Once you have listened to this episode, please remember to like and subscribe to the show if you haven’t already. It would also be fantastic if you would share this podcast with a friend. Sharing is the best way to help me spread the word about the importance of grandfathers in the lives of their grandchildren and families.

Links

To check out my last conversation with Winn about his book, Grandparenting on Purpose, click HERE.

Click HERE to view the Grandparenting on Purpose website

Click HERE to order your book, Grandparenting on Purpose, from Amazon

Click HERE to connect with Winn on Facebook

Click HERE to connect with Winn on LinkedIn

Click on this link to learn more about Peekabond.

Click on this link to learn and sign up for Readeo.

EP – 86 Where Two Worlds Meet

Our conversation with Jerry Witkovsky and Deanna Shoss

This week we are joined by two passionate individuals whose goal is to build bridges of understanding and communication between Grandparents and Grandchildren. Jerry Witkovsky and Deanna Shoss join us to discuss their new book, Where Two Worlds Meet.

Jerry joins our conversation as a leader in developing organizations and programs that impact the lives of his community. Since his 1997 retirement, Jerry has focused his considerable energies on grandparenting facilitation—helping multigenerational families work (and play) together to create a rich family life. He has partnered with JCC and YMCA to create a writing prompt program serving over four hundred grandparents on three continents and a virtual improv program with UK’s Nursery Theatre. He currently spearheads many school-based programs designed to strengthen connections between grandparents and their teenagers.

Deanna Shoss is a marketer, writer, and interculturalist based in Chicago. As Founder and CEO of Intercultural Talk, Inc., Deanna inspires people to learn, create, and contribute across their lifespans. She takes an intergenerational approach that combines online communication platforms such as websites/blogs, social media, and video with tried and true practices such as partnership building, email marketing, and in-person events. Deanna writes for the National Diversity Council and is the Tech Columnist for Grand Magazine. She speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and French and is a certified group fitness instructor. Learn more at interculturaltalk.com.

In our conversation, we discussed what motivated Jerry to write his book and how he and Deanna became connected and are working hard to deliver this timely message of getting grandparents engaged with their grandchildren. We also discuss how grandparents can be a part of the solution in helping grandchildren through complex mental and emotional issues.

Where Two Worlds Meet is an enjoyable read full of fantastic tips and examples that will help you become more intentional and involved with your grandchildren, please follow the links above and below to learn more about the work that Jerry and Deanna are doing and to order your copy of Where Two Worlds Meet.

If you know someone who would enjoy hearing this conversation, please forward this podcast episode to them. Sharing episodes like this one is the best way to help others learn about Grandfathers’ critical role in their families lives. Please remember to ‘like’ and subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t done so already.

Links

Click HERE to go to the website for Where Two Worlds Meet

Click HERE to read the article, Why American Teens Are So Sad

Click HERE to visit Deanna’s company Intercultural Talk

Click on this link to learn more about Peekabond.

Click on this link to learn and sign up for Readeo.

EP – 84 Priming the Pump

Our monthly one on one conversation

“Welcome back, my friends to the show that never ends. We’re so glad you could attend! Come inside! come inside!” – Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

I am happy to have a moment with you. I enjoy these one-on-one conversations, and I hope you find them valuable for your grandparenting journey.

This month, I want to discuss steps you can take to ‘prime the pump’ or, in other words, plan your next visit with your children and grandchildren. Some people will tell you that the only actual planning you should do on your stays (assuming you live out of town) is when you arrive and depart. They will say that should be enough planning and that the trip should be an organic experience.

I say that not having a plan is a recipe for miscommunication and missed opportunities for your adult children, grandchildren, and YOU.

I am not saying that you have to have every minute of your visit planned but what I am saying is that you need to have some plans for your trip, AND you need to build up some anticipation about your stay with the grandchildren.

Put yourself back into your early parenting days for a minute. How would you have liked to have your parents or in-laws show up at the house for a few days, a week, a month with no idea what they wanted to do or not do? Think about the level of stress that would manifest itself with so many unknowns. Do the grandparents want to have a big dinner at some point? Do they want to take the grandkids to the park or zoo? What days is all this going to happen? What about play dates? Times that I was going to work on the car? Painters coming to the house? There are a lot of unknown questions here AND a lot of potential stress.

Grandpa’s, we need to help make sure that our time with our children and grandchildren is as stress-free as possible so that EVERYONE can enjoy the time together.

Here are a few tips that I do and that I have found to help set expectations and reduce stress for those days when my wife and I visit our children and grandchildren.

Start communicating early and often about the expected arrival and departure dates until your travel dates are 100% locked in.

– If you are planning Grandpa/ grandchild activities that are more than an hour, start talking about the dates and times of those activities as early as possible. The parents and grandchildren have schedules that they will need to adjust for your fun activities.

– Ask the parents what activities they think the grandchildren would like. Children’s tastes, activity levels, and interests might have changed since your last visit.

– Use text messages or emails to write down the loose itinerary for everyone. Talking about the calendar AND seeing the calendar may trigger forgotten activities that the kids or grandkids had planned. “Measure twice cut once”

– Leave some blank or ‘zero days.’ Everyone needs some flexibility for last-minute plans and some “grandpa is pooped out” time. 🙂

– Start priming the pump with the grandkids early. This activity is age-dependent, but 30 days out is a good rule of thumb.

– Send video messages about the visit talking about the fun you will have with the grandchildren.

– Use snail mail to shoot a postcard talking about a fun activity. Maybe print out and send tickets to the Zoo, Waterpark, or something else that requires tickets or a pass with older kids.

Your list and planning activities may vary from mine, which is okay. The important thing is to recognize that some pre-planning and a lot of communication will reduce the natural stress that a visit from grandpa and grandma can produce. After all, we want every visit to be memorable for the good times and feelings and not hurt feelings or misunderstandings that can happen when we visit our children and grandchildren.

Be sure to like and subscribe to the podcast if you have not done so already. Also, please share this episode and podcast with a friend. Sharing is the best way to spread the information people need to grow and maintain relationships with their family and friends.

Click on this link to learn more about Peekabond.

Click on this link to learn and sign up for Readeo.

EP – 80 The GaGa Sisterhood

Our conversation with Donne Davis

This week’s guest is Donne Davis. Donne started the GaGa Sisterhood group to bring inspiration, support, and tools to grandmothers worldwide. Donne became a grandmother in 2003, and for over nineteen years, she has been on a mission to connect with other grandmas and explore the evolving role of being a grandmother.

Donne and I start our conversation by discussing her experience in becoming a grandmother and its impact on her life. Donne explains that when the midwife held up her first granddaughter, Donne was GaGa for that grandchild and has been committed to her grandchildren ever since.

We also dive into how the role of being a grandmother and a grandfather has changed in a short time. Donne and I agree that loving and supporting our grandchildren starts with loving and supporting their parents. Both of us agree that the parents often get left out of the grandparent/ grandchild relationship equation.

Donne was motivated to write a book for grandmothers after realizing the relationship with the grandchild’s parents can present challenges in understanding each other’s perspectives. Her book is titled: “When Being a Grandma Isn’t So Grand: 4 Keys to L.O.V.E. your Grandchild’s Parents“.

Once you have listened to this conversation, please share it with a friend and especially a grandmother who would enjoy listening to this episode. Links to Donne’s website and different connections are listed below.

Be sure to leave Donne and me a comment below about what you enjoyed about this episode.

Links

Click HERE to be taken to Donne’s GaGa Sisterhood website. Donne sends out a monthly newsletter called the GaGazine, which you can subscribe to on her website’s homepage.

Click HERE to follow Donne on Instagram.

Click HERE to connect with Donne on Facebook.

Click HERE to connect with Donne on Twitter.

You can check out Donne on Pinterest by clicking HERE

Here is the link to my conversation with Kerry Byrne about her group, The Longdistance Grandparent, that Donne and I referenced.

Click HERE to learn more about the Moby Wrap

Peekabond

Readeo

EP – 78 Older Men’s Mental Health

Our conversation with Dr. Rob Whitley

Dr. Rob Whitley, Ph.D., discusses older men’s mental health issues. Rob Whitley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, and a Research Scientist at the Douglas Research Centre. He is currently a Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé Senior Research Scholar and an Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne. 

Rob and I discuss the different mental health challenges that older men can face in this conversation. We discuss several causes of mental health issues, such as the pain and breakdown of our bodies. Rob points out that as men age, we can lose our connections to friends, family, and other social points of connections like church and work.

Mental health is a broad phrase that can include many different types of behaviors. Much of the focus of the conversation is on depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. Many men often have an internal stigma about seeking help for mental health issues. Some internal stigmas center around the fear of loss of promotion or responsibilities at work. The stigmas can also manifest in the self-talk that older men internalize, such as, “I should be able to deal with this” or “I am weak if I need to reach out for help.”

As part of our discussion around how men need to feel comfortable discussing their challenges, Rob and I talk about the movement of Men’s Sheds. (See the link below) With Men’s Sheds, older men have a place to go to practice skills like wood or metal working along with building vital connections with other men. Rob also discusses how therapy offices and sessions are changing to meet men’s needs and operate more closely with how men communicate and interact.

After listening to this episode, be sure to like and subscribe to the podcast. The most important all is to share this conversation with anyone you know who is maybe struggling or is connected to someone who is struggling with any of the mental health topics discussed in this podcast.

Links

Click HERE to view Dr. Rob Whitley’s McGill University profile

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Rob Whitley’s book, “Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health

Click HERE to read Dr. Rob Whitley’s latest article, “How to Talk With a Man About His Mental Health.”

Click HERE to discover Dr. Rob Whitley’s YouTube Channel, “Recovery Mental Health.”

Click HERE to view Dr. Rob Whitley’s articles published in Psychology Today.

Click HERE to learn more about Erik Erikson’s term Generativity. There is a lot of information about Erikson and Generativity.

Click HERE to read Robert D. Putnam’s article, “Bowling Alone,” published in 1995.

Click HERE to read about Emile Durkheim’s theory and types of suicide

Click HERE to learn more about the U.S. Men’s Shed Association

Peekabond

Readeo

EP – 77 RVing With Grandchildren

Our conversation with Jeanne and Ed Gaffney

Open roads, out-of-the-way adventures, and building relationships are just a few things that we talk about with Jeanne and Ed Gaffney. Through her article, “RVing with Grandchildren,” I found Jeanne on the Go RVing website (See the link below for the article). I thought this idea and experience sounded like great fun for grandfathers and grandmothers.

The Gaffneys share how they got into RVing while living out in Montana and started taking trips with their friends. Once Ed and Jeanne moved to Alabama and were closer to some of their grandchildren, they started taking two of their grandsons out with short trips to the local park. From starting with overnighters at the local lake to multiweek adventures to the mountains and their last trip to Key Largo for scuba certification.

Ed and Jeanne share valuable tips for anyone looking to start taking camping and RV trips with their grandchildren. A big bonus is just making sure the grandchildren can follow ‘the rules and stay the night away from their parents. Ed points out that camping is camping, and it doesn’t matter if it is ten miles down the road or across the country at a National Park. Jeanne discusses helping the grandchildren journal about their adventures and collects things like stamps or patches from the National Parks or places they visit.

Once you have listened to this fun episode, leave us a comment below about your memories of camping with your grandparents or camping with your grandchildren. What were your favorite adventures? What are some valuable tips that the other listeners could profit from?

Remember to like and share this podcast with your friends looking to create valuable and unique memories with their grandchildren.

Links

Click HERE to read Jeanne’s article about RVing with grandchildren

Click HERE to see a short video by Jeanne and Ed about RVing with grandchildren

Click HERE to visit Lazydays RV website

Peekabond

Readeo

EP – 71 Building Love and Affection Over Distances

Our one on one conversation

This week, we catch up one-on-one to discuss how we can build up love and affection with grandchildren who live away from us. The basis for this conversation comes from a guest blog that I wrote for Peekabond. Peekabond is a new company building an application to assist people with building and maintaining long-distance relationships with young ones.

In this conversation, I discuss the need to have a plan for communicating and sharing communications with grandchildren. We then discuss four ways to build up and strengthen those long-distance relationships. The four areas are:

  1. Send fun pictures and videos
  2. Video chats when you can (Peekabond can help with this item!)
  3. Virtual playtime
  4. Snail mail

We live in an age where we can take full advantage of voice and video to communicate to those young ones that we hold dear to us. By taking a few intentional steps and making plans with their parents about how and when to share with children, we can build up relationships where those children can TRULY KNOW US compared to us being remote but loving strangers.

To read more on how you can build Love and Affection with Grandchildren at a distance, please check out my guest blog and be sure to check out Peekabond.

Click HERE to read my guest blog

Click HERE to check out Peekabond

Readeo