February 2nd at 10 AM PT/ 7 PM CET

Active Wisdom: what grandparents can give us and our children


Ann is bringing a fresh new perspective on what grandparents could be today. As a grandma herself and having done extensive studies on the subject, she lays out a picture for the relationships in families and especially those with grandparents in the 21st century.

Portrait of Ann Roberts

STREAMED LIVE HERE on February 3rd 2017

Active Wisdom with Ann Roberts

00:00 Introductions and mechanics

05:55 Ann tells how her transition from “adult” to whatever came after that occurred

07:45 She plugs Mary Catherine Bateson’s “Composing a Further Life” as an important inspiration which added the stage of Active Wisdom” after the previous “adult” stage.

10:15 Beyond “purpose” to a new flavor of making the most of this “new” normal stage.

13:30 Anne describes her project for her dissertation, how grandparents relate to both their own children and to the grandchildren.

16:28 Acknowledgement of viewers who are commenting, then back to Ann.

19:05 “The Family Practices”

22:08 Mark speaks of his grandparents and family dynamics. Ann with warmer reports!

25:05 How to make comments and Ann adds comments re: what the grandparents said AFTER the study, which precluded interaction with any grandchildren directly. Memories
27:10 Ann’s own experience as a grandparent (it lightens her up!)

30:10 Different mindsets of the grandparents, Integral theory comes in.

34:45 Subtle competition between sets of grandparents.  No name for the relationships between those two sets! Grandparents can play again!

38:15 What about grandparents “who know better”?

41:10 Heidi asks Ann what are her plans as a result of this study? Coaching and Circles of “Active wisdom”…and also career guidance for young people.

44:15: A question from a viewer: How can I create a relationship with my teenage grandchildren who I’ve not been close to because of family dynamics?

46:45 Understanding the teenage brain!

48:10 How her research and personal experience of grandparenting has affected her relationship with her husband.
51:00 The changing role of women, learning to lead. Co-creative energies!

53:10 invitation to the after show chat, how to contact Ann ( and husband David.  Ann’s new “organic” life. “Come and play!”  Thank you’s and good-bye’s


Grandparents have played an important role in families throughout history.  Grandmas took care for the children when mothers and fathers were busy with household or field duties. In earlier times that work was significant, in comparison to present times, because of primitive labor technology.  Grandpas traditionally were the head of the family clan and held sway over everyone. But things have changed during the last decades, families are smaller, but often with four or even five generations alive at the same time. The advent of technology, prosperity, education and health care has changed the world of  the family significantly. 

Grandparents tend live on their own now,they want to enjoy their own lives and have a much longer healthy life expectancy. They still take care of their grandchildren, but often in a quite different way than in the past. What is different? What is it like to be a grandparenting now?  What does being a grandparent give us, our children and our grandchildren in the 21st century. There does not seem to be many up to date studies around this topic.  So Ann Roberts in exploring her own grandparenting found an uncultivated field for her research.  We will glimpse some of that during our conversation. 


Ann says about herself:

I love being a Grandmother. After ten years of being an “empty nester”, the arrival of grandchildren brought joy to my and my husband’s lives; they are a wonderful surprise. Having grandchildren has brought us into even closer relationship with each other and with our adult children, and provided us with opportunities to heal family dynamics.

In 2015 as I headed for retirement, I was very aware of this being the first time since I was 21 that I would not have an employment contract. I was rather unsettled by the prospect and I decided I would go back to University and undertake a Masters to develop a new skill-set as a Social Researcher. During my dissertation research I encountered a wonderful book called Composing a Further Life by Mary Catherine Bateson. I discovered that my unsettledness was not that unusual and was indicative of moving into a stage in my life cycle that she called Active Wisdom. As I was experiencing, a transition through ‘retirement’ can often be tinged with a sense of withdrawal, confusion and loss of identity.  What she challenged me to see was that this could be a wonderful opportunity to access my natural inner drive to share the wisdom I have gained from my rich life experience. To step into a refreshed engagement with life that harnessed a new sense energy and commitment to the wellbeing of others and myself.

My research interest is how Baby Boomers are making the most this stage of “Active Wisdom”. I want to create connections, conversations and programs that develop the wellbeing of my generation in the service the people we love.At this event we will have a conversation about what I gathered both from my personal journey over the last year and from the contribution of the grandparents I interviewed.  It was a great experience to be in conversation with such wise elders who in different ways were committed to making a difference to the people they love.



1:07 Active Wisdom – the Baby Boomer generation – the pig in the python

2:26 Heidi talks about the different live strategies of that generation, who often  did not built a traditional career. Heidi’s story

6:20 Talking about music and singing. Ann sings now after challenges

7:05 Cruel optimism – it is not ok to have challenges (Lynne Segal: “Out of Time”) Lauren Berlant

8:10 Share the challenges as well as the opportunities. – Bonding on stories of illness. 8:50 Levels of development

9:55 Cruel optimism – the cruelty of optimism: You don’t have to pretend that everything is perfect. We need a balance and holistic view on Ageing

12:00 Resilience and different rhythm but high potential.

13:00 Heidi: we need to stand up for the recognition that we have different ways of doing, achieving etc. “on our terms”

14:40 Creating Community – in relationship with other generations (Ann). It is about give back. Virtue and Vulnerability of ACTIVE WISDOM. Finding how to reach out to the world without needing to be an expert or in the role of a job

16:19 Reaching out via modern technology and connect globally

18:05 Invitation to the audience

18:50 wise elders and family relationships. The gift of ageing

20:00 Heidi’s life story – today we laugh about it

22:10 Ann’s story about the meeting with the teachings of two native Americans – Consciousness training and ceremonies. The balancing of masculine and feminine. Experience of nature

24:20 Mark’s life in America. The retirement industry in Florida. Too much peace and silence.

26:15 Ken Wilber and the courses. Sidetracked by Jordan Petersons teachings on YouTube