In January 2016, the National Association for Grandparenting was founded. Its genesis began several years earlier when Ken Canfield recognized the profound influence of extended family systems on our families and culture. Having spent three decades studying, strengthening and developing initiatives to help families—mostly in the field of responsible fathering—he found myself in a new era of life: he was a grandfather.
Although he had written a book on grandfathering in the 90s, it became apparent that the field of grandparenting was largely unexplored territory, although there were pioneers like Arthur Kornhauber, Vern Bengston, Judd Swihart, & Cavin Harper who laid an excellent foundation. Nevertheless the field of grandparenting needs new research, resources and initiatives to make it grow. And having spent a few years in inner-city Los Angeles, it also became very apparent that a profound piece to strengthening families was to be found in grandmothers. In urban communities and everywhere else, their influence as family helpers, guides and often “saviors” is underestimated.
Consequently, in the summer of 2016 (July), several colleagues, including his wife Dee of forty years, soft-launched the National Association for Grandparenting. They started as a humble effort to amass the best practices, research and insights to help grandparents succeed in this important role—one which he believed defines some of the best chapters of their lives.
One of their first public expressions of resources can be found at www.grandsmatter.org. You can sign up for the Grands Matter email newsletter (free). Second, you can consider becoming a member of the association. For a very modest fee of $24 a year, you will receive their magazine, benefits (in process) and other perks.