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Read My Mind ©

Oct 31, 2016 09:12AM ● By Michael Harris

Family has always been important to me, more so now that I’ve become a grandparent. So I was intrigued by Lesley Stahl's new book, Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting.


Stahl should be no stranger to you. She is an award-winning journalist and cohost of the long-running CBS television news magazine, 60 Minutes. As a globetrotting journalist, she has reported on breaking stories from around the globe. Her new book, however, explores her new adventure as a grandparent.


Stahl’s only daughter, Taylor, and her husband have presented her with two adorable granddaughters, Jordan and Chloe. This book is both a reflection on what it means to her personally to be a grandma and a “reporter’s investigation” into the physiological and psychological effects modern grandparenting has on the baby boomer generation. Stahl interviews experts in the field as well as ordinary grandparents and better-known grandparents like Diane Sawyer, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tom Brokaw.


I really enjoyed Stahl’s personal reaction to being a grandma and how she found being a grandparent so different than being a parent. With keen recollection, she reflects on the trials and tribulations of being a working mom compared to the pure joy of being a grandparent. Being a grandparent myself, I could easily relate to those worrisome years of raising young children and the pure joy of spending time with one’s grandchildren. Being a grandparent also helps me be a kinder and better person. As Stahl points out, it can also improve your relationships with your own children.


Stahl and husband, Aaron, "sometimes ask each other, what is a grandfather supposed to be, besides a wizard?” Experts in family studies say grandfathers can provide their grandchildren with "the sense of identity and confidence.” Grandparents should tell stories about their childhood because "kids need to know what it's like to be part of the family and have a connection to the past."


And grandfathers should "joke around" with their grandchildren. Even grandpas like Franklin Roosevelt loved to joke around with his grandkids.  Joking around with my 2 1/2-year-old grandson makes me smile. His reactions to my silly jokes have made me laugh so hard I almost split a gut!