15 lessons you can learn from your grandmother

Grandparents pass on powerful life lessons to the next generation

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Grandparents have a lot to offer when it comes to the wisdom they've accumulated over the years from their parenting experiences. In honor of their many contributions to family life and National Grandparents Day on
September 8, we wanted to hear the timeless advice they have to share with modern parents.

1. Bond through books
Elizabeth "Betty" Jurgens of Cornwall has four children, ten grandchildren and five great grandchildren. As an author of local history as well as children's books, she always reads to her children and grandchildren.
"There's a special bond there," she says.

2. Enforce the value of education
Jurgens went to college when she was in her 60s and believes that set an example for her family. "Education is so important," she insists.

3. Stay connected with planned family time
With her children spread out across four states, Jurgens initiated an annual family reunion. The weekend event has been a vital part of keeping their family connected. "I'm glad we have a family reunion every year. It's wonderful and the little ones really enjoy it."

With three grown children plus four grandchildren, Marcia M. Salton says her key to a happy extended family life is hosting everyone for vacations at her house on the lake.

4. Set a good example
Salton wasn't always sure she was doing the right thing. As a working mother during the 1970s and 1980s, she started out on the lower tier of the employment ladder and eventually worked her way up to the level of executive administrator. That path meant juggling priorities, a balance
many women struggle to achieve.

Salton sees now that she set a good example that a woman
could work and have a home life.

5. Treat others as they wish to be treated
Salton says that her children are very giving and involved in the community. "That is a legacy that I passed on to my kids," says Salton, who is still very active as a volunteer for four organizations.

"I always taught them to treat others as they wish to be treated. We always had room for others who needed a place to stay."

6. Let kids try to be who they are
As her last words of advice, Salton says, "You don't realize until your children are grown that the best thing you can do for them is to let them try to be who they are and to just raise them to be good people."

RELATED: Tips for making the most of your time with your grandparents on Grandparent's Day

7. Teach kids the value of hard work
Jean Ries of Cornwall raised four children, has seven grandchildren and is now enjoying her first great grandchild. She describes her own parents as people who came from humble beginnings and who made something of themselves. Ries paints a vivid picture of a young couple who had a dream, worked hard and supported each other.

Growing up, Ries' mother worked in the Boston shipyard as an electrical assistant and her father was away in the Army. Even though her mother was working, she went to beauticians' school at night and ultimately
followed her dream to have her own shop.

"My mother is my hero, she was so determined to make something of
herself," Ries says.

8. Take the time to let off a little steam
Ries says that her mother was 16 when she married her husband who was 20. At 18, she had Jean, her first child.

"In some ways, my mother was old beyond her years, but she and her husband were still young and liked to let off a little steam now and then," says Ries. "They liked to have fun and to go nightclubbing. I don't know if young people still do that, but it was one of the secret ingredients to my parents' success."

9. Foster responsibility in children
With her mother working, Ries had many responsibilities growing up. For instance, the house needed to be cleaned every Saturday before she went out with her friends. But Ries says that work didn't hurt at all. She learned responsibility and remembers her upbringing fondly.

10. Instill a love for nature
Sabina Toomey of Forestburgh is a parent to three grown children and a grandparent to seven grandchildren. She says an important part of raising her children was making them appreciate nature. "I always try
to give them a sense of awareness about their natural surroundings.
If we're out for a drive, we'll stop and look at the clouds and the
sky," Toomey says.

11. Share stories
The best way to connect with family is through stories. Toomey says that when her grandkids come to stay, she has many techniques for connecting with them. "I have them write stories about their day and what they experienced."

Toomey has also found that her grandchildren enjoy hearing stories about their parents when they were their age.

12. Keep children busy
Dolores Voorhees of Dover Plains has four grown sons, fifteen grandchildren, six great grandchildren and has adopted her niece's three children. "One thing I've learned is to keep them busy. If they have too much time, that means trouble."

13. Motivate with money
Over the years, Voorhees has learned that a little monetary
incentive can work to get results.

"A few dollars for a good report card or for practicing their instrument can work wonders as a motivational tool."

14. Teach important life skills
Voorhees comes from a big family and her mother always emphasized that children need to have projects that will teach them skills. "Help your kids set goals and get involved in activities they can make use of later in life, like playing an instrument, learning a second language, sewing or

15. Laughter is the best medicine
When a youngster is stressed or getting worked up about a
situation, Voorhees says, "Help them laugh at themselves or see the humor in the situation. When they get in to an 'everything is awful' frame of mind, this can be the only thing that helps."

Olivia L. Lawrence is an editor with a news organization. She likes to spend her free time outside gardening or otherwise enjoying nature.