When we first moved to Australia 23 years ago, one of the hardest things for our young children to adapt to was that they didn’t have a Bubbe and a Zaida (grandmother and grandfather) nearby. There is a particular role that grandparents play in the lives of grandchildren, especially when they are young. The fact that grandparents often have more time than the parents and are slightly removed from the day-to-day happenings of the family mean that they can serve as an extra cushion of love and support when things between parents and children get tough, as they inevitably sometimes do.

The grandparents also benefit from their involvement in the children's lives. Children are enthusiastic and have a zest for life which will rub off on the people who come in contact with them. Knowing that there are youngsters who are relying on them and who appreciate their love adds joy and purpose to the life of an older person.

After consultation with our children, we decided to adopt some elderly people who did not have family of their own to act as a Zaida and Bubbe to our children. We would invite these people to our home on a regular basis to join us for Shabbat and Yom Tov meals. The children were enlisted to care for them, to fetch them and then take them home after the meal, to help them with their shopping, and so on. This created a bond between the children and these "grandparents".

Some families bring pets into their homes for the purpose of teaching children to care; however, the satisfaction in caring for a human being is far greater and more meaningful.

A person becomes a good driver not by watching someone else drive but by driving himself. The same principle applies to one of the most satisfying pleasures of life — that is, giving to others. We learn to become good givers not by standing by and watching other give, but by giving of ourselves to others.

The pleasure of giving should be as important a value and skill as any other we try to impart to our children. It will serve them well in the years ahead and make them happy and active members in the community in which will find themselves.

Try It. It works!