New Today's Grandparents feature introducing readers to a local grandparent.
Published: August 29, 2018
By: Greg Carannante
Editor’s Note: Welcome to our new Today’s Grandparents feature. In each issue, we will introduce readers to a local grandparent and ask each the same questions. Their answers will not only show us what being a grandparent means to them, but also expand the perspective of grandparenting for us all.
One of the region’s premier personalities in the domains of child development, family relationships and parenting, Roni Cohen Leiderman is the dean of the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development at Nova Southeastern University. Under her leadership, the center has emerged as one of the nation’s largest multidisciplinary demonstration and professional training centers in the field.
Among the exhaustive catalog of Leiderman’s accomplishments and affiliations are her media expert contributions to NBC’s Today Show, the Rob Reiner-produced I Am Your Child series for parents of children with special needs, and public TV’s Express Yourself, for which she received the prestigious Crystal Award of Excellence for Children’s Programming.
Leiderman, PhD, is co-author of Let’s Play Together: Playful Parenting Games and Activities for Nurturing Your Child’s Development and of a book series that has sold over a million copies, including Baby Play, 365 Activities You and Your Baby Will Love. She is also associate author of In Time and With Love: Caring for the Special Needs Baby, and was a co-founder and former board member of Gilda’s Club South Florida.
Grandparent of a grandson, 13, and granddaughter, 10, the Fort Lauderdale resident has a 43-year-old daughter who is an occupational therapist and an exercise coach and a 39-year-old son who is a mental health counselor.
Q. How often do you get to see your grandchildren?
A. As often as possible! If I am not visiting with them, we are FaceTiming, sending short videos and talking every day.
Q. What do your grandkids call you?
A. When my grandson was born I was to be called “Grandma.” At a year old he shortened that to “Ma,” and when he was
18 months old he added new sounds to the word… so I now hold the treasured name of “Maack.”
Q. How do you best like to spend time with your grandchildren?
A. Every moment together truly is a holy instant, so every time I am with my grandchildren is the best time.
Q. What is your favorite saying?
A. “Do I prefer to be right or happy?” But when I asked my son, he said my favorite saying is “Drive safely,” so I may have to go with that one!
Q. Where’s your favorite place to take or go with your grandchildren?
A. My favorite place is spending time with each of my grandchildren in their rooms doing simple things like reading books aloud, playing board games, drinking our special smoothies, playing with dolls and making houses out of blocks and cardboard, talking about just about anything — and the new favorite: magic tricks. Just thinking about these special times warms my heart.
Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A. That’s simple and easy to answer: being with loved ones.
Q. What was your most memorable experience with your grandchildren?
A. Holding each of my grandchildren the moment after they were born was breathtaking. I truly could not fathom the depth of love and joy that comes from being a grandparent until I became one. Every experience with them is memorable.
Q. What is your most treasured possession?
A. My children, grandchildren, husband, sister, and dear family and friends are my most treasured possessions.
Q. What’s the most important thing grandparents can bring to their relationship with their grandkids?
A. Pure unconditional love.
Q. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
A. Have to hope for three changes: Unity. Peace. Respect for all.
Q. What’s the biggest difference between you as a grandparent and you as a parent?
A. With a renewed appreciation of time, a mature understanding of what truly matters and a different set of life responsibilities, I now have unlimited patience, a better sense of humor, a desire to play all day and the time to truly take in each precious moment.
Q. What is the most important thing life has taught you?
A. Life has taught me the benefits of forgiveness, peace of mind and the ability to freely experience love.