New Book Hails Grandparents as Family Activists
When grandchildren are young, a sweet treat or new toy is enough to inspire their unconditional adoration. And then they become teenagers. Suddenly it’s not so easy anymore, for you or them.
Where Two Worlds Meet: A Guide to Connecting with Your Teenage Grandchildren is a new book that gives grandparents a roadmap to stay connected and even deepen your relationship with your grandchildren as you both age. It is an action-focused guide by Social Worker and community leader Jerry Witkovsky and marketer and interculturalist Deanna Shoss. The book provides insight and guidance on how grandparents can better understand life through their teenage grandchild’s eyes.
Teen Mental Health Crisis Makes it Critical Now
With the ongoing mental health crisis amongst teenagers, the role of grandparents, a supportive role, helps teens realize they aren’t alone and have additional advocates for their health and wellbeing. “The more we understand teens and stress, the better grandparents will be equipped to support them,” Witovsky says.
“One of the most important things grandparents can do right now is to be there and understand how the world is different,” Witovsky says. “It’s never too late to have the relationship you want to have with your grandchildren.” “Where Two Worlds Meet” provides the roadmap for grandparents on how to be cheerleaders and supporters in their families’ lives.
Grand-parenting through an Intergenerational Lens
Where Two Worlds Meet looks at grandparenting through an intergenerational lens. The book recognizes that the world grandparents grew up in differs from the one we live in today. “Open yourself to your grandchildren,” Witkovsky and Shoss say. “Experience the world as they see it, and don’t be afraid to let them into your world too.”
When grandparents and grandchildren become closer, all three generations benefit. “A thriving, powerful family is about multidirectional relationships between grandchildren, parents, and grandparents, and how all of us can connect more deeply,” Witkovsky says. “It’s not just the elders of the group who have something to share, but every member of the family.”
Designed for Action
Each chapter of Where Two Worlds Meet focuses on an action item that grandparents can take, from how to engage in storytelling about life’s milestone events, to leaving a legacy of values. Forgiveness and reconciliation with the generation in between, your grandchild’s parents, is also a critical component that’s covered in the book.
There are interactive activities at the end of each chapter allowing grandparents to apply the learning to their own families. The “Four Jars,” creating a Living Legacy Foundation, Three-generation Family Meetings, and Intergenerational Sharing Fun are among the strategies and tactics aimed at assisting all generations in connecting in new ways.
About the Authors, Jerry Witkovsky and Deanna Shoss
With a Master’s Degree in Social Work, Witovsky spent 47 years working alongside families, 18 of which he served as General Director of the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago. As a residential camp director in Wisconsin, he introduced the first grandparents weekend in 1970, inviting grandparents to experience the liveliness of their grandchildren in a camp environment and participate in camp activities. They shared stories of their life around the campfire, opening up their world to their grandchildren.
Shoss is a long-time marketer, intercultural author, researcher, and founder/CEO of Intercultural Talk, Inc., a marketing firm that provides digital, intercultural, and real-life strategies and tactics for non-digital natives–aka did not grow up with technology. Shoss hosts the weekly live stream show, Intercultural Spark, inviting guests to explore topics such as technology and how it serves people pursuing mission-driven businesses and life projects.
How You Know You Make a Difference: Letters from Grandchildren
“Where Two Worlds Meet” is filled with letters written by grandchildren who share the profound and lasting impact of what they have learned from their grandparents, many of whom lived with immigrant struggles, poverty, and personal adversity. These letters provide valuable insight into the meaningful legacy that grandparents can have on their families.
Witovsky, as a strong proponent of letter writing, understands the significance of exercises like this and what they bring to grandparents and grandchildren.
“That’s how you know the power of your love and your enduring role in the family,” Witovsky says.
Parents will Love the Book too! (Boundaries…)
Parents will love this book as well because it is respectful of boundaries. Grandparents are counseled to recognize that they are not the parents. The book provides strategies for making amends if needed with the generation in between. It also takes a respectful approach to all three generations when giving grandparents strategies and tactics to leave a legacy of values and valuables.
Every day more and more headlines come out regarding the mental health crisis among teens. Grandparents, who have lived through polio, wars, and so much more are in a great position to support them. They are facing real challenges of peer pressure and deciding who they want to be. You want to help, just as they begin to pull away. But rest assured, Grandparents are the family activists who can save the day.
Where Two Worlds Meet: A Guide to Connecting with Your Teenage Grandchildren is published in the United States by WriteLife Publishing (an imprint of Boutique of Quality Books Publishing Company, Inc.) and distributed by IPG (Independent Publishers Group). It is available for pre-order now, and available online and in bookstores on June 21, 2022. Learn more at wheretwoworldsmeet.com.