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Insights from the Intersection of Childhood and Education

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why Grandparents & Special Friends Day is Important

We posted this article last November, but decided to share it again since it carries such an important message and we are celebrating Grandparents & Special Friends Day today.

Rivka Kahana, who teaches 3rd-8th Hebrew at Akiba-Schechter, reflects on her own experience of Grandparents Day, not only as a teacher, but as a grandparent:

Initially, when Akiba-Schechter started hosting Grandparents & Special Friends Day, I didn’t think much of it. We don’t have this in Israel where I grew up and was a young mother, so it was unfamiliar to me. I did not even consider attending it at my own grandchildren’s schools in Michigan and California because taking time off during the school year to travel is difficult as a teacher. However, on one of the first Grandparents & Special Friends Days at Akiba-Schechter, I was in my classroom, and as grandparents were filing in, I happened to be watching one student. I was worried because I knew his grandparents lived abroad and wouldn’t be able to come. Would he be left without a visitor? Then I saw his face light up and turned to see a man whom I knew briefly from the community enter the room. When I later asked this student who it was that had come for him, he was beaming as he told me: “He’s my special friend. He came for me.”

Then I felt bad for never having bothered about Grandparents Day. Clearly, it meant a lot to a child. So, when the next invitation for Grandparents Day at my grandchildren’s school arrived, I took the day off, and I went. Of course it was wonderful to experience their school day, and as a teacher, it was interesting to see how another Hebrew School or Jewish Day School operated, how other Hebrew teachers taught. But I did not expect how nice it would be to meet other grandparents, and to share experiences with them. Now I have made my own friends where my children live. I believe that events like these, that create bonds not only between generations, but also within each generation, are especially important here in America because they foster that sense of community that will continue our traditions.
As a grandparent, I realized that you come to Grandparents & Special Friends Day not only for the kids, but for yourself.

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