Graham Glasgow is the starting center for the University of Michigan football team. He also lives with his 81-year-old grandma in a college apartment.
These two, incongruous facts tell a simple and powerful story of the effects that grandparents can have on their grandchildren.
Glasgow was arrested last year for driving under the influence of alcohol. Later, he was put on probation but violated his probation by drinking again. Because of his misdemeanors he was about to get cut from the Wolverines football team.
But, thanks to a forgiving coach and an all-star grandma, Glasgow was given another chance to be on Michigan’s football team. All he had to do was agree to live with his grandma in on-campus housing.
Glasgow’s story has been featured on ESPN, The Detroit News, and other major media outlets for good reason. It’s amazing to see the stabilizing effect of an older, loving family member on a struggling young person.
For many grandparents and their grandchildren the age divide can be a huge disconnect. Grandma doesn’t know what Snapchat is and she can’t remember her wifi password. For grandma, her granddaughter may be making unintelligible life decisions by not being married at the age of 25 or by studying computer science.
But working past differences can be healthy and beneficial for both grandparents and grandchildren. Not only does it result in a stronger family unit, but each generation can bring something valuable to the other.
For grandparents who may have lost their spouse or be living alone and far from family, a connection with a grandson can be warm relief from loneliness. Grandchildren can help grandparents explore technology and enjoy modern entertainment and media.
Grandchildren can benefit from the life advice and wisdom from a family member who has seen a lot of what they may be going through. The perspective of someone who knows what they are going through, but advises with love and patience, can be a powerful bond.
It’s never too late to try to connect with a family member who is separated from you by a generation or two. The powerful bonds that form can benefit everyone, not just football players trying to get back on track.