Are You “That” Grandma?

grandma

BY JEANNE SULLIVAN

I’ll admit it.  I was that Grandma (only they call me Lola and I know you may have your own zany name too!) The one who brought three gifts to my grandson’s birthday party.  The one that shipped a little surprise present to my grands for their first day of school and their last day of school. (We should celebrate both the school year and the summer, right?).  The one who made all of the other tooth fairies look bad when I slid an extra $10 under my granddaughter’s pillow the night she lost a tooth on my watch.

And then one year at my grandson’s Spider-Man themed 7th birthday party, it happened.  He tore through the wrapping paper of his fourth gift from his classmates, and climbing through the Spider-Man paper was the same Spider-Man action figure that I had carefully anguished over in the Target aisle the day before.  Sigh…  Next a Spider-Man lego set, then a Spider-Man bowling ball set, then…you guessed it…the identical Spider-Man doll AGAIN.  And he hadn’t even peeked into Grandma’s red-tissue-paper laden Spider-Man gift bag yet.

When he finally got to it – at gift number 13 or 14 – he smiled, said “Cool!  Thanks, Lola “, and quickly moved on to gift number 14 or 15.

When I babysat him two months later, Spidey was still hanging out in his gift bag in the corner of the living room. Even at the holidays, I noticed that both kids got tired of opening gifts – there were far too many under the tree anyway. I asked myself, “why did I buy so many gifts and they are not even appreciated?”

That’s when I realized that my grandkids have more stuff than I can count. And truth be told, more stuff than they can count.

So, this year, I’m doing something different, both for me and for them.  I’m pledging not to waste my money on more plastic stuff that is obviously teaching them values of consumerism and excess instead of teaching them the value of hard-earned money.

That’s when I realized that my grandkids have more stuff than I can count. And truth be told, more stuff than they can count.  

I have searched for websites that let me build up savings for, or sort out, my grandson, Jack’s, goals.  There are a few but a new website called iSow.com lets me use birthdays and holidays to contribute to goals in 3 categories that seem sensible: saving for the future, sharing with others and spending on experiences that matter to Jack – instead of receiving more toys that he doesn’t want, need or use.

My own kids would really appreciate a college fund for the little darling, and I am easily able to establish such a fund on iSow.com. Jack wants to go to Lego camp and take drum lessons this summer.  I am delighted to be able to support those dreams as well.

The old adage says “you reap what you sow.”  Hopefully iSow will help my grandchildren to sow for the things that are important to them in life, and as a result, they will reap healthy financial habits and concern for others instead of 3 identical Spiderman dolls.

Now I am that Grandma again, but in an entirely new way and I like the way that feels.   

Author Bio –  Jeanne Sullivan

grandmaGRANDmom of  Jack and Patrick, Jeanne M. Sullivan is a long-time venture capitalist based in New York City.  She is an advisor, investor, and is a sought-after speaker – aiming to inspire entrepreneurs on how to finance their businesses.

 

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