ONE Angelus in flight: that’s what Pope Francis he dedicated for World Grandparents and Elderly Day, on the day of the second World Day dedicated to them. On Sunday, July 24, the Holy Father spoke to about eighty journalists on the plane that will take him to Canada for what he called “a penance trip” that “today there is no Angelus, but let’s do this. It is Grandparents’ Day: Grandparents, grandmothers, who have passed on history, traditions, habits and many things to us”. To the journalists who asked him about will go to Ukraine, the Pope said: “Yes, I want to go. We hope. Maybe”.
The Pope’s message
It is necessary, he continued, “to go back to the grandparents, I would also say leitmotif. In the sense that the young must keep in touch with their grandparents, take back their roots, not to stay there, no, but to lead them forward in the flowers and fruits”.
And again: “I always remember that poem by Bernardes: ‘Everything that the tree has in flower comes from what it has buried. They are the grandparents”.
“Each of us has grandparents, some are gone, some are alive, but let’s remember them today in a special way: we have received many things from them, first of all the story“.
Associations: reflect on the role of grandparents
Same day, Acli and Fap (Fund for the Elderly and Pensioners) have been keen to emphasize their daily commitment to support the elderly, hoping that this day can be an opportunity to reflect on the role they play in our society.
This year’s theme, chosen and desired by Pope Francis, is “In old age they will still bear fruit” (Ps 92:15).
“In fact, far too often ‘throwaway culture’ – reads a note – it forces the elderly to marginalization and exclusion from active life, with serious damage also to the entire social context, which loses a legacy of history and memory”.
For these reasons “it is necessary to revise the social representation of old age in the sign of the person’s full dignity and his right to be recognized and respected throughout life, where he is always called to ‘bear fruit’ in family life and in the wider social link”.
According to Acli and Fap, “usefulness cannot be the criterion for evaluating a life, but its irreplaceable preciousness, its original and unique contribution to building relationships and bonds”.
The contribution to families
But on closer inspection grandparents are also very helpful. Starting with the precious management of grandchildren: as, thanks to the expensive life, both parents are increasingly busy with work, and the number of families dependent on their grandparents to manage their children is decidedly high, especially if they are in an early age and in any case up to at least the sixth grade.
With the Covid pandemic, the phenomenon has literally “exploded”: during the shutdown two years ago, but also the subsequent frequent interruption of classes, with classes in DaD or alternately in the presence, many families have entrusted their children to their grandparents that the point , that babysitter bonus provided for the care of children left at home, again due to the Covid-19 emergency, the number of families who have directly “hired” their grandparents has been high.
The phenomenon was summarized in the INPS study on services to support the family to cope with the closure of schools due to the pandemic, according to which 339,252 out of 556,348 babysitters paid with the family booklet with the bonus (practically three quarters) were 339,252. over 60 years. And not infrequently, grandparents help their grandchildren, especially in the first cycle, including one perform the tasks assigned by the teachers.
“There is surprising evidence: – Inps said last year – babysitters are mostly older. In fact, 61% are at least 60 years old, which means they are probably grandparents”.
The survey confirms
INPS information on grandparents who dress as anchormanwas also confirmed by a survey conducted last fall by Skuola.netwho interviewed a thousand young people between the ages of 10 and 21: The study revealed that grandparents not only step into the parents’ shoes at all times in their grandchildren’s lives, but are also stable and safe caregivers both for going to school and for returning.
For 8 out of 10, they also functioned as “nurse“In the absence of mothers and fathers. And for 6 out of 10 students, they also provide lunch after class: instead of leaving them at home, their grandparents take them to lunch.
Also 80% of the young people interviewed said that they spent many afternoons and evenings of their childhood in the company of one or more grandparents: 7 out of 10 even say they have slept on more than one occasion in their grandparents’ home. And at least half vacation if I did it in the footsteps of my grandparents.
But the relationship with the grandchildren is not one-way: 55% of those interviewed claim to be their grandfather’s personal assistant, and that another 33% are ready to intervene in case of difficulties.
It is probably also thanks to these consultations more and more grandparents are now fully ‘digital’: about a third (30%) communicate with their grandchildren by doing video call onlineover half (60%) chat via Whatsapp. You understood the grandfather!