6/2/2021 | By Terri L. Jones

My sister and I never knew our great-grandparents. They all passed away long before we were born. The term “great-grandparent” simply represented a long-ago relative on the family tree to us.

However, when the next generation in our family came along, my young niece and nephew were fortunate enough to have two great-grandmothers in their lives until they were in their early teens. Then when my niece had her first child last fall, her baby was surrounded with a total of seven great-grandmas and grandpas!

According to an official of the U.S. Census Bureau, because U.S. baby boomers are living longer than past generations, we’re experiencing a “great-grandparent boom” in our country right now. In fact, it’s been estimated that by 2030, most 8-year-olds will have at least one great-grandparent to smother them with love.

With yet another layer of grandparents in children’s lives comes many benefits – for children and grandparents alike. Kids can teach great-grands about social media and other pop culture references. In return, older folks can tell their great-grandkids stories about past generations; the days before smartphones, video games, and even remotes; and what it was like to actually experience the history they’ve read about in school.

According to one sociologist, regular contact with their great-grandmas and great-grandpas may encourage the young people to have more positive attitudes toward older people in general and form stronger bonds with their families and cultures. But for the great-grandparents, the chief benefit is the intense emotion. “The most difficult thing in the world to explain is the reaction when you see a great-grandchild,” said Samuel Sack, in a New York Times article. “It’s a great thrill. Better than the Cyclone in Coney Island.”

My mother, Patricia, great granny to my niece’s child, expresses that emotion quite simply: “I felt extremely grateful that I had lived to see a second generation of grandchildren. When I saw Beckham in person for the first time…it was love at first sight!”

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over 10 years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones