‘Pa-Pa, hold my hand’

The advantage of becoming more experienced in life is the ability to value every moment I have to spend my grandchildren. There is nothing more precious than to be able to pass on the love, pride and nurture; the lessons offered and the legacy created by my father and grandfather from my generation to my children’s offspring. This impact of what we do today for those who follow was so vividly displayed when walking with my two-year-old grandson down an otherwise empty hallway.

As I walked slowly and quietly in that space, he looked up to me, breaking that silence with one of most profound things I could have heard from the perspective of his mind. In that moment, he asked me to hold his hand. As I reached down to him, the feeling in his eyes of trust, protection, warmth and hope let me know that this was a significant moment in his life and development. It was also a clear sign to me of the impact we make for those around us in such a simple act.

I value time I spend with my grandchildren for several reasons. It gives me yet another chance to contribute to our future and to ensure the legacy created by my father and grandfather of a strong family structure is sustained.

While his request was simple, it was also metaphorically profound. In addition to my own children and grandchildren, I have spent my life and career focused on strengthening and supporting all of our young people. To me, my grandson was speaking for them. They need us to hold their hands.

Not just literally at a time when we can offer physical support and balance, but figuratively when we should be offering emotional, spiritual and psychological support and guidance as well. As we look around at the social challenges our children are enduring, it is obvious that we’ve let go of their hands.

Once upon a time, all adults were charged with the role and responsibility of caring for our children. We were corrected by neighbors when we made mistakes, and those same neighbors celebrated and shared our accomplishments. But today, our children seem to be raising themselves.

We hear and see our young people defined as rowdy, unruly and even violent. To me, those are calls for help. They are speaking out in what may be the only way they know how; they are asking for our hands.

Whether we grab their hands is our choice, but a chance we must take. We have to take the time to show them we care enough to help guide or redirect their paths. We must intervene and held create a better future for them, and ourselves.

The issues we must deal with as a result of the massive number of un-held hands is our own fault. We looked away and gave up on our greatest asset — our children. But we must turn around in order to turn them, and things, around as well.

And it as simple as the request of my grandson. We must hold their hands. Not in the babying manner, or event one of over-accommodation. Rather, it should be one of care, concern, love and guidance. We can hold their hands today or have a problem on our hands tomorrow.

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