The Inbox

Grandparenting 101

Yay Padua-OlmedoText and photos by Elizabeth Lolarga,VERA Files

Who was the woman who said that if she had realized earlier that grandmotherhood would bring her such unadulterated joy, she would’ve skipped marriage and motherhood altogether and gone ahead with being a lola first?

Yay Padua-Olmedo, retired vice president of one of the Philippines’ biggest conglomerates, a teacher at Southville Foreign University in Las Piñas and a motivational speaker, wrote the book Grandparenting: Happiness and Hard Work! (OMF Literature, Inc., 2012) just in time for the long Christmas holidays. Hers is a wise woman’s voice, the kind that knows that “joyful moments” are also balanced by “turbulent days and tough trials.”

The national situation is such that the idealized nuclear family has been shaken, if not broken. It isn’t just the incompatibilities of some parents, the sickness and tragedy that befall them. There is the kind of economy that the government encourages—the exportation of Filipino brains and brawn or the odd working hours of business process outsourcing—that separates vulnerable children from their parents.

Olmedo described the diaspora wherein couples leave for “more developed countries where they believed a brighter future awaited them, OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) making a beeline for even the most toxic of environments, in the hopes of a job, all so that they can provide for their families—and grandparents finding themselves in not so normal situations because of all these.”

She argued for the need of godlier grandparents given these Philippine realities:

  • A population growth of 1.9 percent in 2011, an alarming rate given that the country has limited land;
  • Limited employment opportunities worsened by graft and corruption and ineffective governance, forcing many Filipinos, especially much-needed professionals, to look for proverbial green pastures in the US, Canada or Australia;
  • A diaspora that divides families as “the priority has been choosing what seems to be the only way out of poverty”; and
  • A worldlier lifestyle wherein the young are enamored with gadgets and sensual gimmicks.

Cover of Olmedo bookGiven all these, Olmedo called “for trustworthy anchors” like grandparents who are there not just for the joyful part but also for challenging times. These people become worthy of the prefix “grand”, which, to the author quoting the Merriam-Webster dictionary, meant “something or someone who is foremost, inclusive, comprehensive, lavish, sumptuous, lofty, sublime, wonderful.”

Her book is peppered with quotes from famous persons and writers in history who’ve experienced the loving care of grandparents and from the Holy Bible New International Version that serve as dividers for 10 chapters that begin with “Godly Grandparents to the Rescue!” and end with “Jesus Our Role Model.”

Memoirist Shirley Abbott is quoted for her variation on the biblical line about the sins of the parents visiting on the children: “We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains just as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.”

Olmedo warned against the use of television and DVD shows as baby sitters, unless these are value oriented. She wrote that in this country “the highest rating daytime and primetime shows are teleseryes with their shouting and moping scenes, and variety shows with their constantly gyrating and scantily-clad female dancers…Kids who watch too much of all this at best will absorb some pretty shaky values, at worst the boob-tube will totally, and dare I say, permanently desensitize the young viewer’s conscience!”

It is a tricky situation a grandparents find themselves in. The big question is, in the author’s words, “Up to what point do grandparents get involved so that we’re not accused of meddling, intruding or imposing?” Grandparents must respect their adult child’s standards and opinions even if these are different from theirs without reneging on their role of helping their child with parental responsibility.

Olmedo included cases wherein she counseled grandparents on sensitive matters like disciplining children left in their care by OFW parents or encouraging childless couples “to find fulfillment in helping relatives who lack the means to educate or provide health care for their children.”

She advised happy singles to “have some time to spare, you could be the answer to a weary relative’s prayers. Be a surrogate grandmother and you’ll be more than blessed for taking the time to take an active youngster for a few hours, or once in a while feed, bathe, teach, or put a baby to sleep.”

Based on interviews with her fellow grandmothers, she warned against spoiling grandkids. One lola said, “Kids easily get tired of toys…so why add to the things they’ll just throw around?” Cooking for, reading to or traveling with them are the truer, more lasting gifts.

Olmedo concluded that “our grandchildren are among that special group of people who could make us sparkle once again.”

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options