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 Michelle McConnell and Rowan

Talk about “The New Face of Grandparenting.”

Michelle McConnell turns 50 this year. She is a marathoner (actually running 50 miles this year for her 50 years) and global activist to bring awareness and prevent child slavery and trafficking (115M are victims in world today). She just wrapped up a 22 for 22 Challenge…22 push-ups every day for 22 days—a challenge to shine light on the fact that 22 veterans are victims of suicide every day.  She is a Corporate Relations Specialist at the Exelon Foundation…and she’s a first-time grandma!

The Grandest Love has 5 Questions for Grandma Michelle McConnell…

1. How do you want to stay connected to your grandchild now and across their lifespan?

Since Rowan and his parents live 40 miles away from us we don’t see him constantly but we do get to see him every month or so. I’d like to keep that type of schedule. Of course would love to see him and his parents more frequently but work schedules and life also happen. Long-term my hope is we can be a regular part of his life, have him over for urban adventures on his own and with his parents, and help instill values like helping others, sharing, having fun and valuing family.

2.  What have you discussed with your adult children about your role as a grandparent?

I’m not sure that we’ve had a formal conversation as much as said ongoing that we love being with Rowan, love being a part of his life and want to help all of them as a family however we can.

3.  What values (philanthropy, kindness, etc.) do you want to teach to your grandchildren?

I want our grandchildren to know it’s important to be involved with their community, to give generously and volunteer regularly. We tried to set this example with our children and we would want the same for Rowan and other grandchildren. Also, to be kind and love all people, to step out of your comfort zone and embrace opportunities to widen the circle of friends from all walks of life.

4.  In the spirit of “From the Board Room to the Living Room,” what have you learned in your work world that can transfer to making you a better grandparent?

One thing I’ve learned from work is there are many opportunities out there in terms of careers and networking that I didn’t realize as a young person. Taking risks generally pays off – it’s hard to do sometimes but I would encourage my kids and grandchildren to take risks, try new things and not be afraid to make changes.

5.  What have you learned from your grandparents?

My grandparents were older when I was born as the youngest grandchild on both sides of my family and a late surprise in my parents’ lives. My maternal grandfather had already passed away and he has always been a bit of a legend to me as he came from the Isle of Man and the stories about him sound very interesting. It also sounds like he was a kind man. My maternal grandmother was ill by the time I met her but before I was born she hooked rugs, caned chairs, painted, made quilts – a very talented woman who made many beautiful pieces and gave them to her family. My paternal grandparents were older but I was able to have more of a relationship with them. My paternal grandfather died when I was in high school so my Grandma McConnell is the grandparent I would consider the one I was closest to. She was very practical, not very affectionate, had a dry sense of humor and clearly loved all of us very much even if she was a bit aloof. She taught me how to look at things without sentimentality and make good decisions. She also made me laugh and I like to think I did the same for her.