Nina Godiwalla on Why to Raise Your Children Near Their Grandparents

In Chapter 3 of 18 in her 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, author and entrepreneur Nina Godiwalla answers "How Are Your Family Relationships Changing As You Get Older?" After having children, Godiwalla realizes the importance of raising her children around the support and influence of her parents. She learns from being around her parents, learns more about her family history and culture, and is able to give her children valuable time with their grandparents. Nina Godiwalla is an expert on diversity, leadership and women in the business world. She is CEO of Mindworks, which provides leadership, stress management, and diversity training to companies all over the world. She is also a bestselling author and public speaker. Godiwalla earned an MBA from Wharton, a MA from Dartmouth and a BBA from the University of Texas.


Erik Michielsen: How are your family relationships changing as you get older?

Nina Godiwalla: My family relationships are changing significantly since I had children. I grew up in Texas, and then I left for a long time, and I kind of had the mindset where, “Why would I go back? I have all these incredible opportunities professionally, geographically,” and I didn’t necessarily really think about going back.

Now that I have children, I think everything changes because it goes back to that community of being raised by people that I value what they think. I see my parents with my children, with their other grand—my sister’s children, and I think there’s no way I can miss that. There is no way I could take my kids away from that, and I think part of it is just being older, our generation tends to have children older, so there’s not that much time my kids will have with my parents. It’s actually a limited time where my parents can go out and do things and be active. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in 15 years from now, so I—that has changed significantly because I wanna be as close as I can to them, because I want my kids close to them, and, from that, I’m learning so much from being back around my parents, because I’ve stepped away for a long time, so, suddenly, I’m learning so much just from being around them as well.

Erik Michielsen: Such as?

Nina Godiwalla: I don’t know much about of our religion. I’m not very informed. I grew up in this very tight-knit community but I don’t know basic things about our religion. I don’t know family stories because it was kind of we’re in this crazy, crazy, everyone’s busy. They’re taking us to dance class, they’re taking us to this class, but now I’m coming back when they’re not so crazy, crazy, they were tired, things aren’t so crazy, crazy, they were tired, and they have time to think about, “Oh, you know what? When I grew up and I didn’t hear all these stories when I grew up, we were too busy,” they were too busy doing too many things, so I’m starting to learn more about our family.

And my grandfather was brilliant, and, actually, he was very sentimental, and my mother had written all these letters, she was an immigrant to the U.S., and she moved here when she was 17, and she would write my grandparents, her parents, all these letters about what they would do day-to-day, and so, it’s basically when we were born, from so long ago, and my grandfather saved every letter, and he had it all documented with the date and the time, I mean it was just amazing, and that’s history. I mean it’s for years. We’re talking letters for about 30, maybe 40 years of letters, and so there’s a whole story that I’m so excited. My mom and I, we’ve talked about sitting down and she’s just gonna read them to me, and that I told her that Indians are very big on giving jewelry, and I said I don’t want your jewelry, I don’t care about your jewelry, I said I want the letters, give me the letters, ‘cause that’s history, those were the important things.