No, we’re not talking about GRAND’s glasses that rarely get put away in their case. And it’s not the keys to Mom’s car that she laid down right here – or so she thought.
Where are all of the things we almost intuitively seemed to know as children? The basic tenets of childhood, if you will, that filled us with the joy of everyday activities.
Where are they?
Long ago forgotten in our much-too-busy-and-stressful lives. Cast aside by adult responsibilities too numerous to mention. Gone decades ago…along with our childhood.
In deference to summertime, we thought we’d take a lighter approach to the parenting generation gap and share our different perspectives on what our children/grandchildren have taught each of us.
School may be out for the summer, but the extra time spent together reminds me just how much he teaches me every day. I love that so many life lessons are clear in the simple teachings of children. As the end of summer seems to come faster and faster, it’s a good time to slow down and listen to the wisdom of children.
- Ask before you help someone. They might not need or want your help.
- There is ALWAYS time to play.
- The best cure for tears or a bad mood is laughter and silliness.
- Pay attention to the little things around you. Because they are pretty amazing.
- Ask WHY. Don’t take things for granted.
- If you have to take a bath, you might as well have a lot of fun getting dirty first.
- Think about things BEFORE they come out of your mouth. Once you say it, you have to do it.
- Sometimes grown ups need a ‘time out’ for attitude adjustment, too.
- Dream the big dreams without worrying whether they are possible.
- When someone repeats everything you say, it sure makes you think about yourself.
- Don’t say “I can’t”; say ”I’ll try”. (Okay, this one came from his preschool teacher…but he likes to remind me).
There are so many things in this world that I never thought about twice, until I saw them for a second time through a child’s eyes. I had no idea what I was missing as life rushed by me.
Wow, of all the things I read about becoming a grandparent, learning from the grandchildren was not one of them! Being a grandparent has opened my eyes to so many things, thanks to my darling grands. Now, as a ‘seasoned’ grandparent, I look back over the last eight years and with a knowing smile, offer my list of what mine have taught me:
- Be in the moment. Some of the best times occur, when you allow yourself to really be in the moment – truly heart-warming memories for both adults and children.
- Be patient and go at a slower, more child-like pace. The good part of the park or the playground is not necessarily being at those places. It’s the route, the path, that takes us there.
- There is such a thing as absolutely unconditional love. Grandchildren just love you, because they do!
- What an amazing world there is all around us …and the joy of discovery of even everyday things we take for granted, yet are brand new and exciting to children. Walking through a nearby nature preserve during daylight hours, my grandson exclaimed, “Look, Gam, the moon’s out!” (How many times had I seen the same thing and never even noticed, much less, thought about it?)
- Children are worth listening to, though they’re oftentimes ignored by adults and our harried pace. Their take on life can spark some fascinating and delightful conversations you’ll hear nowhere else.
- Be clear in your communications – children are sooo literal. The anticipation of going to a playmate’s house on the water was palpable, until he learned it did NOT mean the house itself was on the actual water. Rather, it was waterfront property…much to his utter dismay.
- Be gentle; be aware of other’s feelings BEFORE you speak. Sticks and stones AND sharp words can hurt.
- Try to learn something new and don’t give up! Advice from one of my grandsons: You have to hit the ball slowly, slowly, especially when you’re near the water…if you want to get a hole in one…and to stay out of the water!” (Lessons on miniature golf from an almost 5 year old.) And from another grandson, also almost 5 years old: “You can do it, Gam. Swing this way. Don’t give up. Keep trying!” (Batting lessons)
- Grandparenting helps me deal with – and even heal – some of the ‘stuff’ from my childhood…seeing the past from a different perspective.
And now, here’s my newest mantra: Stop. Look. Listen.
- Stop my ‘adult’ pace, when I’m with my grandchildren. Slow…it…down.
- Look at him or her. Watch how they move through everyday activities; the joy of discovery; how they observe, and interact with, the world around them.
- Listen – truly listen – and respond, to their words, comments, observations and questions.