North American Indian Center of Boston Grandparents' Resource Guide


The Circle of Life

As Native People we share a unique understanding of the power of the circle; its importance in all living things in our natural environment, in our tribal and personal relations, and in our hearts. By no coincidence the drum is round, we gather in a circle, we dance in a circle. In the circle we feel safe to express ourselves intellectually, creatively, and spiritually. In the circle each of us can see into another's eyes - it promotes peace, understanding and balance.

The Role of Wisdom Keepers

Another thing we share is a profound regard for our Elders - the keepers of our stories, and a lifetime of personal experiences that give them wisdom. Many of you have reached that station in your lives after having raised your children and now, often for reasons beyond your control, you are parenting again.

Most grandparents have the benefit of interacting with their grandchildren without having the overall responsibility for them, making it easier to establish a close, loving and unique bond. Grandparents share stories and activities based on family, traditions, culture and spirituality. Those stories become the foundation from which grandchildren can build upon their dreams. In a perfect world, it is through this foundation that the generations reach out to each other - across the parents – and like a virtual hug pull a family together around siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles to complete the circle.

What Happens When "The Circle" Becomes a Line?

Grandchildren are a gift from the creator but when that gift becomes a responsibility it is often squandered to satisfy the burden. This guide is designed to help ease your burdens and enhance the quality of your relationship with your grandchildren so you can enjoy the gifts, find balance in your life and complete the circle.

The resources in this guide can provide some tools to help raise your grandchild successfully, but the most important tool is one you already have - your voice. You are the best advocate for your needs and the needs of your grandchild. Knowing what is available, and having the courage to speak up for yourself and your grandchild will be critical to finding balance in your role as a parenting grandparent and complete your family circle.