Episode 79. The Mindful Grandparent

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Born into a plain-dressing, plain-speaking Mennonite farm family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, today’s guest, Shirley Showalter, grew up to become a college president, a foundation executive, the author of two books, and the grandmother of three.

The values her family and church instilled in her as a young girl are ones Shirley still holds dear: generosity, kindness, and empathy. In the Mennonite community, she says, “a child in need was everyone’s problem to solve, not only the parents. If I saw a ‘plain person’ in a long dress or wearing a bonnet or a plain suit on the street, I would never have hesitated to ask for a ride, for information or even for money. All through my childhood I was being trained to be that same kind of beacon of kindness for others.”

That beacon of kindness shines brightly in the recently released book, The Mindful Grandparent: The Art of Loving Our Children’s Children, which Shirley co-wrote with Marilyn McEntyre. It’s a guide to helping grandchildren live with intention and be attentive to others, to nature, and to the diverse, beautiful, and troubled social world around them. The Mindful Grandparent covers wide-ranging topics such as cultivating curiosity, giving meaningful gifts, helping children explore difficult topics, building a grandparent team, honoring adult children’s boundaries, and managing technology.

Before we welcome Shirly to the podcast, please take a minute to look at the links in the show notes and learn how to be a guest and how to receive my newsletter.

Now, please join me in welcoming Shirley Showalter to the podcast.