A Recipe to Nourish Grandkids


“In a troubled time, the willingness to proceed like you’re needed is a radical act.” – Stephen Jenkinson

If old trees become fertile ground, then it’s grandparents who we need to nourish future generations. How will you offer yourself to the world? From an open-hearted and generous place, we need grandparents to share their gifts, wisdom and spirit.

We are creatures of connection. Happiness and resilience blossom when we recognize our interconnection through generations and with our living world.

Try a few simple acts to live in alignment with our innate desire to contribute:

Forage with kids

It’s like hide and seek with a delicious pay off! When I was a kid, my grandparents took me foraging for morel mushrooms. It was a fun spring family activity of bushwhacking and climbing over forest debris and a peaceful way to experience nature reciprocity. Introduce grandchildren to your lineage of gatherers seeking nettle, berries or other wild edibles.

Landscape for the soul

Landscapes are potent. It’s here we can connect with our ancestors. Take your grandkids to your favourite view or vista. Maybe somewhere your parents took you? Mary Reynolds Thompson, author of Reclaiming the Wild Soul, says all landscapes are not extrinsic to who you are; they are woven into the core of your being. Introduce children the landscapes they belong to. Can’t think of a landscape? Invite the child to show you a place they hold sacred.

Take them to water

Water is an earth element with healing qualities—it’s pure and precious. Take a child to play, picnic or sit near water, it sooths the body and soul. Alan Wolfelt, author and founder and director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, says, “When we spend time near water, we connect to its tranquility and flow.” Vancouver Island offers many opportunities to attune to the ocean, it’s streams, waterfalls, ponds and lakes. A walk in the rain counts too!

Find ritual

Invite grandkids to participate in a ritual from your ancestors, culture and roots. This can be an act to reclaim and better understand the benefits of ceremony. Without ritual our lives can become empty and devoid of symbolism. The magical language of ritual helps us stay connected to our roots, brings us into the present moment and reminds us of our human goodness. Many children have a longing to understand the magic and electricity of heartfelt ritual. Can you help?

Tell stories

Television has taken the place of storytelling around a fire, says Toko-pa Turner author of Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home. Make time to share your stories. My grandfather wrote his life story a few years before he died. Each birthday, I read an excerpt of it to my kids so they may appreciate their lineage of fearless ancestors.

Feed them

We’re no longer eating together or gathering around the anchor that was the family dining room table. Food preparation time has decreased for families, and snacking time has increased! Invite grandchildren to cook, bake or preserve the harvest with you. Make something from scratch. Dr. Deborah MacNamara, an author and counsellor, urges us to protect mealtime. Doing so helps us realize where we belong and who we belong too. Tip: Gift children a family recipe in every birthday card. They will grow to appreciate them with age.

“Sharing food is a metaphor for all giving. When we offer someone food, we are not just giving that person something to eat, we are giving far more. We give strength, beauty, clarity of mind, and even life, because none of those things would be possible without food. So when we feed another, this is what we are offering: the substance of life itself.” – Susan Salzberg

Give a blessing

Teach a child how to ask for support from the unseen, kind and wise. Religions and faith name these and any child can be invited to explore allies, helping spirits or the energy in the world around us. Barbara Moore calls blessings proactive, empowering and something you give. For example, kids can offer a blessing to a friend, a new home, celebration or beloved pet. Other ways to connect or communicate, like prayer can call in light, love, non-human kin (for example a tree, stone, water) and basic goodness. Did you know praying aloud helps regulate the vagus nerve, among the most complex systems of nerves in the body? And so does sitting, chanting, humming, yawning and laughing.

Show grandkids in your life how to sew, mend and repair items. Plant seeds in the garden together or become pen pals so they learn how to write a letter or postcard. Teach kids how to knit, crotchet and build. They need your presence and crave meaningful experiences together. Enjoy!

Lindsay Coulter
Lindsay Coulterhttps://www.epiclearningcommunity.ca/
Lindsay Coulter is a writer, educator, facilitator, naturalist, creator of culture, soul activist, and mother of two. She’s the co-founder of EPIC Learning Community a forest and nature school in Victoria, B.C., Program Coordinator at Victoria Nature School and in the process of attaining her certification in Equine Facilitated Wellness.

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