We both laughed, when we read a comment by author Hope Edleman (Mother of My Mother), “Grandparents are just as likely to be sources of conflict as pillars of support”.
And then I (GRAND) stopped laughing, as I recalled a recent time when I blew it. Just the other day, in fact. I didn’t keep my mouth shut, when a parenting issue became too intense for me to keep quiet. No, my grandchild was not in danger. I just didn’t agree with how the situation was being handled. And it got pretty uncomfortable. After some discussion with the parent involved and later more with the one not at home at the time, it dawned on me: This is definitely a work in progress. This parent-grandparent relationship, I mean. And it’s going to work better some days and not so well other times.
Most people agree: Grandparents are pillars of support, playing a critical role on so many levels. Grandparents are a link to the past…sharing the wisdom they have acquired through decades of life experiences as well as a different perspective.
And most people also recognize that the older generation offers another source of unconditional love and encouragement for grandchildren, while helping them feel secure in the world, as noted by Dr. Susan Newman (author and parenting expert) in our recent interview.
So far, so good. Yet this constant ‘dance’ between the two generations – both of whom just want what’s best for the grandchildren – can be emotionally draining and, sometimes, even feel like a tug-of-war.
I recently heard being a grandparent described as a blessing and also a responsibility. It was as if a light went on in my brain. I know that being a grandmother is amazing. But I never really thought of the role of grandparent as being a responsibility.
So, I looked up the definition. Responsibility: Answerable, or accountable, for something within one’s power. And that gave me a whole different perspective, when helping craft our 5 Pillars. That helping make this relationship work is within my power. It’s part of my – and the parents’- responsibility to do so.
So, we asked parents and grandparents for tips on making the relationship work. Many of these suggestions referenced how very different information on child development, food allergies, etc., is from when the grandparents were raising the parents. Communication also seems to be a key skill, including discussing what kind of role the grandparents will play in their grandchildren’s lives.
And, with the help of these parents and grandparents – whose names aren’t being used to protect us all! – we’ve narrowed it down to 5 Pillars of The Grandparent-Parent Relationship.
1. Talk about Expectations, Rather Than Assume!
- Have this discussion as early as possible, even starting the conversation during the pregnancy. However, the discussion needs to happen, regardless of how old the grandchildren are now.
- How would the grandparents want to be involved? What kind of grandparents would they like to be, is a question suggested by Dr. Arthur Kornhaber (author and founder of Foundation for Grandparenting).
- How do the parents see the grandparents’ role? Discuss how involved the parents would like the grandparents to be in their child’s life.
2. Don’t Undermine the Parents.
- Parents should be able to expect grandparents to follow their parental rules and preferences.
- Grandparents should follow parent’s rules and wishes – including food guidelines parents use – even if they don’t agree with them. This extends to parental limitations on what toys, movies and videos grandchildren can receive as gifts and can play with, or watch, when in the grandparent’s care.
- Parents should remember that grandparents really only want what’s best for their grandchildren. And parents should decide what the ‘must follow’ rules are; then, be flexible with other rules for the grandparents.
- Grandparents should wait to be asked for advice. One grandparent shared her mantra for remembering not to offer unsolicited advice or override the parents: “Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand on my mouth.”
3. Foster the Grandparent-Grandchild Bond.
- Grandparents should be willing to help, most importantly with time and love.
- Parents should allow time for the grandchild to build a relationship with the grandparents.
- Both generations should set clear boundaries about babysitting and providing child care. Let’s be clear here: Grandparents can offer to babysit as much as they want or are able. Parents can always decline or suggest another time to do so.
- Parents should keep in mind grandparent’s comfort level with, and ability to ensure the safety of, different aged grandchildren. Revisit the issue, as grandparent’s health, mobility or energy levels change.
4. Communicate Regularly and Openly.
- Grandparents and parents should be able to listen to each other with an open mind and without feeling defensive, focusing on what’s best for the grandchildren
- Parents should communicate their rules for the grandchildren, when they are at home and at the grandparents’ house.
- Both generations should be sensitive to changes in the other’s life that can impact the parent-grandparent relationship…without being judgmental.
- Communicate clearly. Don’t assume someone can read your mind, even if you feel both generations know each other very well, as Dr. Newman reminds us.
5. Parents and Grandparents Have Separate Lives.
- Grandparents shouldn’t expect to spend every holiday with their grandchildren.
- Grandparents should have lives which include, but don’t revolve around, their adult children and grandchildren.
- Parents should not drop off grandchildren without advance planning and a specific request to do so.
All of us – grandparents and parents alike – at some point in the relationship have disagreed with, or questioned something going on with the grandchildren. Life isn’t perfect and neither is this relationship. Like or not, these three generations are connected. It behooves each of us to figure out a way to make this work – or at least make it manageable. We’re always working on our grandparent-parent relationship! We hope these 5 Pillars are helpful for you.
Share you ideas and tips for making this relationship work. Join the conversation on our Facebook page here. And ‘like’ us, then enter our newest sweepstakes! Your choice to win one of two great prizes for you, your child and grandchild. Or go to our website, momandgrand.com, and enter to win our sweepstakes!
We want to say a special ‘thank you’ to the parents and grandparents who shared their tips for this article.
Dr. Arthur Kornhaber, Foundation for Grandparenting website
Dr. Susan Newman, Facebook page
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By Dennis Miller
Many grandparents are afraid they simply won’t be able to retire – or stay retired – when and how they planned. We can talk about retiring later, taking a part-time job, and cutting back on expenses, but those are only partial solutions. Of the seniors who are still working, very few are earning as much as they did at their peak. Their life savings still needs to make up the difference.
I receive a lot of letters from very concerned baby boomers and retirees who are watching their principal erode every year, but they don’t know what to do about it. Unfortunately, some have unrealistic expectations.
I received a note from a woman in her early 70s who had fired her stockbroker (for good reason), and asked if there was a basket of mutual funds she could invest in that would do the trick. I had to tell her that there simply are no “set it and forget it” solutions anymore.
When our parents retired, CDs earned enough interest to keep their portfolios afloat. As long as they had saved diligently for retirement, they could go on trips and maintain the same lifestyle without much worry. Today, even if you have a sizeable nest egg, you still need to actively manage your portfolio. Otherwise, it will slip through your fingers.
If you are as concerned about inflation as I am, precious metals are the best place to start. Historically, they have held their value even as governments and currencies collapsed. No, I do not suggest selling everything and buying gold and silver. There is no one investment that can do everything our portfolios need. However, a moderate, long-term investment in precious metals will help hedge your portfolio against inflation.
What about additional income to help pay the bills? One of the reasons the stock market is doing so well is because retirees are desperate. There is no other place left to earn a decent yield, and so we have to put our money at more risk than we would like. The lessons of 2008 are still in the back of our minds – for good reason. But the Federal Reserve has made it clear that interest rates are going to stay low, so we have to learn to manage the risk to our portfolios as we invest in the market.
In How to Profit from Risk, I recommended allocating a small portion of our portfolio in speculative investments. Retirees have a lot to lose, so high-risk, high-reward investments should represent no more than 10% of our portfolios. And, of course, never invest a penny without thoroughly researching an investment. They won’t all be winners, but when one does well, it can take a lot of pressure off the rest of your portfolio.
So, if we own precious metals to hedge against inflation and a small number of speculative stocks to relieve the pressure, what should we do with the rest of our portfolio? Again, there is no one answer. However, every investment in a retiree’s portfolio should be weighed against our Five-Point Balancing Test:
- Is it a solid company or investment vehicle?
- Does it provide good income?
- Is there good opportunity for appreciation?
- Does it protect against inflation?
- Is it easily reversible?
If our portfolio is going to keep up with inflation and provide income to supplement our Social Security checks, a sizeable portion of it should be in reasonably safe investments that will appreciate and provide dividend yield. Putting no more than 5% of our portfolio into any one investment with a 20% trailing stop will further help limit risk. That way, if the stock tumbles, we can’t lose more than 1% of our overall portfolio.
The first cold, hard fact of retirement is that it takes a lot of money. The second is that it takes lots of work. Most of my friends who are doing well in retirement are spending a lot more time looking after their life savings, and a lot less time on the golf course than they originally intended. They are, however, enjoying the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are on top of their finances.
Dividend income is a good way to start funding your retirement portfolio. Speculative stocks are great (and fun if they’re giving you good returns and you’re using my 20 / 5 rule mentioned above), but the core of your portfolio needs to be stocks you can rely on for stability; and a little extra cash through dividend payments is a bonus. That’s why I’ve put together a new report called Money Every Month outlining exactly how to build a portfolio that pays out each and every monthand even tells you which stocks you should consider owning. I’ve recently released a short presentation showing exactly how it works and how you can start as early as today. Here’s the link.
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Editor’s Note: As we know, safety is top on the list for grandparents when it comes to their grandchildren. We’ve published numerous lists and reminders, but in my opinion, you just can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting your grandkids from dangers right in your own home.
By Louie Delaware – The Home Safety Guru®
Childproofing your home should not be a difficult task. The problem doesn’t stem from not wanting to do it, but from not knowing where to start, what to do and most
importantly how to do it correctly as you only have one chance to get it done right.
Accordingly to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 2.5 million children are injured and some killed each year by dangers right in their own home. It is estimated that 90% of these accidents are preventable. That’s why it’s so important for grandparents to carefully childproof their home.
Your grandchild’s pediatrician will remind the parents when your grandchild turns six months old that they need to begin the process of childproofing, but who reminds the grandparents? As grandparents, you play a very important role in keeping your grandchild’s environment as safe as possible. The measures that the you take now and in the future are very important to maintaining an adequate level of safety. Childproofing does not remove the need for adult monitoring and control. Just stepping out of room can result in injuries or harm to your grandchild (just ask the mom in Denver that stepped into her closet momentarily to walk out and see her three-year-old holding a loaded handgun shooting himself in the foot). Always keep in mind that your grandchild can be faster than you think. As a reminder, there is no substitute for continuous and adequate adult supervision of children.
If you are not certain as to what should be done, many people refer to Professional Childproofers. These experienced individuals deal with each home project carefully. You can find more information companies that do this at the International Association for Child Safety (www.IAFCS.org).
There is no set way of making every home safer for a child. But from my own experience and from data gleaned from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Safe Kids Worldwide, I list out what I believe are the Top 10 most
overlooked childproofing issues:
1. Falls – The number one cause of preventable hospitalization for children four and under is falls. Falls can happen from stairs, going through or over stair railings, falling after climbing up on the outside of a stair railing, or out windows.
2. Drowning – The next biggest preventable cause of injury or death in children four and under is drowning. It is possible for a child to drown in as little as 1 inch of water. Protect your grandchild from any standing source of water, like pools, hot tubs, toilets, bathtubs and utility buckets.
3. Kitchens & Baths – These are the two most dangerous rooms in a home. All sorts of problems can occur here. There are many objects that are attractive and fun for kids here. Knives, glass objects, big food items, hot surfaces, poisons. The list goes on and on. Lock and latch as many areas as possible, or better yet
put unsafe items way out of the reach of a child.
4. Strangulation – There are a great deal of ways for children to get strangled.
These include window and curtain cords, electrical and video monitor cords,
tethered pacifiers, etc.
5. Electrocution – Children are naturally attracted to items powered by electricity.
Their inquisitive nature takes them to the outlet. Always ensure that outlets are
6. Choking – All sorts of hazards for choking exist for children. The bottom line is if
it is small enough to fit inside a toilet paper roll tube, a child may choke on it.
7. Door Safety – There have been many children that have injured or amputated
their fingers due to closing of a door, whether on the latch or hinge side.
8. Falling Furniture & TVs– A very common area that parents forget about
protecting is furniture, especially ones that are prone to falling over if a child pulls
a drawer out or climbs on a shelf. And don’t overlook one of the more common
issues – the unmounted flat-screen TV – as they are very easy to slide or be
pulled over, many times with tragic consequences.
9. Poisoning – All sorts of items around your home are poisoning hazards;
Chemicals, cleaning solutions, medications, even spices. One to two teaspoons of
salt can be dangerous, more can be lethal. Fluoride toothpastes are also
dangerous. It you are ever in doubt with what may happen after a child ingests
something, immediately call the Poison and Drug Control Center at 800-222-
1222. By the way, everyone who supervised a child should have this number
programmed into their cell phone as you never know when an ingestion event
10. Childproofing Too Late or Inadequately – You should childproof your home as soon as your grandchild starts to crawl (preferably before), and no later than when they start walking. At this point in time, they can move to an item that looks intriguing, but is actually an injury waiting to happen.
This list should not be considered comprehensive. It is a starting point that you should be considering to keep your grandchild as safe as possible. But as stated earlier, childproofing is not a substitute for diligent, constant and appropriate adult supervision. Childproofing goods can break or may not work properly over time. Many of the devices that are used for childpooofing are made out of plastic so it’s important that all devices are periodically checked for viability and proper operation.
Lastly, most people do not budget enough time to childproof their home. It can easily take 50 or more hours, even if you are handy, to childproof a 2,400 to 3,000 square foot home. If you don’t feel you are up to doing the job, call in a professional childproofer, especially someone who is a Certified Professional Childproofer®. They have the right knowledge, experience, expertise, tools and products to help safeguard your grandchildren. They can also save you a lot of time and worry.
Louis Delaware, The Home Safety Guru® is a Licensed General Conteractor, an Advanced Certified Professional Childproofer®, a Certified Aging In Place Specialist®, Certified Radon Mitigator along with other safety certifications. Louie’s book, the Home Safety Guru’s Definitive Guide on How to Childproof Your Home is available at Amazon.com in print and for Kindle versions at www.HowToChildProofYour Home.com.
For more information about Louie Delaware, go to his web site,
© 2008-2013 The Home Safety Guru®. All Rights Reserved
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By Jonathan Micocci – AKA Grandpere – GRAND Car Reviewer
Mitsubishi I-MIEV SE 5 Door Hatchback
A certain German brewer of beer advertises that ‘you never forget your first girl’. I’m not sure if that’s true or even desirable but I will never forget my first electric car. It is the Mitsubishi I-MiEV (for Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle). Thankfully it seems to answer to ‘I’ and ours became ‘the Raspberry’. I had not named a car or an electric appliance since maybe age 8.
To begin, it’s really cute, to most anyway, and elicited comments like ‘should we park it or should I put it in my purse.’ A dissenter said ‘wow, that’s an ugly car’, but then proceeded to interrogate me about it for 30 minutes. The ‘I’ evokes emotions. Smiles. Curiosity. And when four grandparents (sans the kids) took it to the beach, it evoked memories of adventures. This crowd hadn’t had a truly new automotive experience in quite a while (‘Listen, I think I hear the motor.’). Mitsu calls the color raspberry and so our baby got a name.
What it is: a four seat urban vehicle with an extremely cab-forward design. It’s a passenger compartment without the stuff out the front and the back. The result is minimal weight, fantastic visibility, ease of parking and a comfortable cabin for four with supportive seats and airbags all over the place.
Instrumentation and ergonomics are simple and surprisingly 20th century…there’s even an ignition key. Ours had the $2,800 Premium package with the Mitsu entertainment/nav screen and that cool rear view camera system. If you have a deaf cat in your neighborhood, buy this option. The ‘I’ does not make a lot of noise.
Once fired up (activated) and placed into gear, the ‘I’ commences to convert stored electricity into motion with very little fuss. The heavy flat battery mounted down low contributes to a more stable ride than you might expect in a high-sided 2600 lb car. The battery feeds a 49 kW motor driving the rear wheels through a one-speed transmission. That translates to 66 hp and an impressive 145 lb-ft of torque, all the while chilling the cabin air quite effectively.
Steering is light and nimble. Acceleration at city speeds is spunky and highway cruising is doable up to a point. Literally. At the speed-limited top end of 81 mph, it still had more to give but it wouldn’t give it for very long and that’s the whole point of the car. It’s at home darting around town, parking, un-parking, darting again, while returning the equivalent of up to 126 mpg. Bear that last part in mind when gassing up your fuel-burner to accomplish these same tasks.
Official range is 62 miles which covers most urban adventures but ‘running out’ has consequences so planning ahead is part of driving an ‘I’. Charging is accomplished by a Level 1 charger that you keep at home or in the vehicle. 110V. 22 hours empty to full. Level 2 is harder to come by but available and brings it down to 7 hours. Level 3 is not very available yet and provides an 80% charge in 30 minutes. Day to day, you plug it in when you’re not driving somewhere and forget it. Anyone with a cell phone will adapt right away.
At $29K base, $34K tricked out, the ‘I’ is not cheap but thankfully, the Feds are encouraging this emerging technology with a $7,500 tax incentive. Your fuel savings depend on your alternative but $9,850 in five years is an estimated average. The maintenance manual is a skinny little leaflet…you will be putting money back in the bank with every mile.
Should you consider an ‘I’? Mitsubishi built their first E-car in 1970 but it’s taken this long for the political, economic and technical obstacles to be overcome and big players to start investing. This car is for you if you’re an early adopter, if you take pride in protecting our precious environment or if you just want a no-hassle urban errand-runner that asks little after the purchase and returns a lot. Understand the limitations and then find out how much personality this automotive appliance puts out.
Specifications as tested:
Engine AC synchronous permanent magnetic motor
Transmission Single speed
Curb Weight 2,579 lb.
EPA MPG 112 (equivalent)
MSRP as tested $33,915
Micocci reviews cars of interest to grandparents for GRAND Magazine. Of course, all cars may be of interest to grandparents and they particularly like high-performance two-seaters.
For questions or to schedule a car review: email@example.com
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(Editor’s Note: I saw this in the Wall Street Journal today and just had to share)
By Liz Peterson Weiss
I imagined retirement being many things—but not teacher conferences, appointments with pediatricians and soccer games.
At age 64, I am a member of an unconventional club: grandparents raising grandchildren. The Census Bureau estimates there are about 2.7 million people like me and my husband: grandmothers and grandfathers responsible for the basic needs of one or more children under age 18.
I never imagined myself in this role. My husband and I are college graduates; we have a nice home, money in the bank, a place in the community. But then…I never imagined that our youngest daughter would become pregnant while she was still in school, eventually divorce and decide she wasn’t capable of raising a child. That was 13 years ago. Zach, our grandson, now 16, has been with us ever since.
Read More -
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THE MANNER IN WHICH WE GO INTO THE DARK
For Anna Bella Guillette
By David Card Leon
Yesterday, my grandmother died. It was cancer that got her… And while I feel it all happened
too quickly, the other side of that coin is you don’t really want cancer to be lackadaisical about its work.
I want to mourn. I’m certain I will. But I don’t know how. Life has made it hard for me to cry; and at any rate, I’m not sure the story of my grandmother is best told through tears… Not through my tears, at least. I take another approach. Honest mourning should involve
honoring her life. By virtue of being her descendant, I carry her into my world. Perhaps my grandmother’s story is best told through sharing her goodness with everyone I meet; and since we’re being honest, trying to hold back (and laughing a lot about) the worse stuff I do that’s just like her.
Even in all the sadness, there’s a sense of peace. I think that’s why I don’t know how to react, because it all feels so… complete.
I’ve seen death take its time, painfully and systematically shutting a body down; and I’ve seen it pounce so quickly I’ve had no time to react. I’ve seen death lurk, and I’ve seen it loom over us. I’ve seen it win. I’ve never seen death lose.
It makes for excellent dramatic effect to humanize death. To ascribe it personality and force with a sinister quality. Odd, in our cultural lore, quite literally, we give life to death. Then we fear it, and that fear gives it power. It is in that way good poetry can make for bad methodology. Follow me here…
Light is a force. Darkness has no motion and no force at all; indeed, it is not darkness that pushes its way into a space, but it is light that moves about, penetrates and invades. Darkness is nothing on its own. Darkness is simply the name we give to the absence of light.
Heat is the same. Coldness has no motion or invading force of it’s own. It is heat that radiates into the coldness, while coldness is nothing… merely a word we use to describe the standard
condition of the universe without heat.
Life and death are also like that. It is life that emanates force and propels itself onward. Life moves about and pushes through. From either the frigid or volcanic depths of the sea, to our concrete cities, life teams and adapts and breaches and makes bigger cracks in the unmaintained parking lot. Life circulates and grows bigger and outward, while death is
merely the lack of that circulation that stops and decays.
A pothole in the road is, in fact, nothing at all. It is merely the name we give to the hole where the pavement should be. You see, life and death are not opposing forces. Death is the nothingness where life should be.
Death is not a something. Death is the lack.
You know, in retrospect, I should not have said “I’ve never seen death lose.” Who is to say death ever truly wins? Although my grandmother died, the fear of the unknown never broke her quiet dignity. True, my very catholic grandmother believed that death is no end; rather, it is the gate we all must pass through. Life does not cease; it simply moves to the other side. But faith is only faith until the rubber meets the road, right? Maybe death is that silent darkness in the cloak; that grim reaper of all things sown. Maybe our reckoning is death laughing as we
all fade to black.
What then? When our time comes, should we fear? Swim frantically for our lives away from death’s gravity like a goldfish circling the edges of a flushing toilet? When the grey rain curtain of this life rolls back, at that moment, each of us will die alone. And although my faith tells me one thing, who knows what, if anything, really waits on the other side?
After the doctor gave my grandmother the foreboding news about her cancer, my aunt leaned over and asked her what she thought about it all… My grandmother replied, “Well, you win some. You lose some.” And that… well, that’s kinda badass.
She not only lived well, but also died well. I want to do that… to never break stride in the face of fear; because it is an unavoidable fact, we too will pass through death’s gate. And in those final moments, our only tangible reality will be the manner in which we go into the dark.
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By Ranny Levy, Founder and President of Kids First!
Star Trek into Darkness is the second movie based on the original TV series and, for those of us who grew up watching this show, brings back all our favorite characters – Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto). Uhura, (Zoe Saldana), Bones (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg and Sulu (John Cho). The storyline also is reminescent of those of the past but fleshed out with 3D, great character development, outstanding sound effects and good acting throughout. This is definitely a film to take your teen grandchildren to. Our youth film critics were wow’d by the film. Patrick Nguyen, age 14, commented that it “left me in awe and thrill.” It also brings attention to the close brotherly relationship between Captain Kirt and Spock. In the end, Patrick finds a new passion for Star Trek as you can see below.
Star Trek into Darkness
By Patrick Nguyen
Video review available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MZpCo8imZo
Satirical, Emotional and Epic are the only words to describe the new movie Star Trek Into Darkness. I got a chance to visit the Paramount lot for an exclusive screening of this movie, which left me in awe and thrill. Although this movie is a sequel to the previous Star Trek series, movie goers who are not familiar with the story will understand the plot clearly. The actors portray their characters very well thanks to the director, J.J Abrams. The scenery and set for the futuristic year of 2240 are so vivid and realistic, audience members will forget they are in the year 2013. This movie is also produced for the IMAX 3D, which puts all the explosions and fight scenes in your face.
The relationship of all the characters on the iconic Starship Enterprise are deep and meaningful. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachery Quinto) develop a brotherly love through the struggles they conquer. The Villain, Khan (Benedict Cumberpatch) is a scary two-faced character that will leave the audience guessing his fate until the very end. Not only does the main star achieve his role perfectly, but the co-stars also do an superb job. The writers, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof successfully add comedy in the script to bring an emotional roller coaster to the audience.
The set ranges from modern skyscrapers to futuristic spaceships. The designers portrayed the theme very well, using many computer generated images to create the year of 2240 in a way that makes it seem so real. The 3D element is an added bonus because it brings the action up close. The beginning scene has lots of running and fighting sequences and yet it is all filmed in such detail that the characters seem like they are going to run off screen.
After watching this movie, my passion for Star Trek has been sparked! I rate this movie 5 out of 5 because it balances the comedy and action scenes so well. It has multiple themes taking place but the on-going theme “the power of friendship can build you or destroy you” is present throughout. This movie contains a hand-full of violence but is not bloody or graphic. The action sequences, violence and realistic make-up could be scary for younger audience members so, I recommend this for ages 13 to18. This movie has sparked an interest in Star Trek for me and hopefully, it will do the same to you.
Ranny Levy – Founder and President
KIDS FIRST! / Coalition for Quality Children’s Media http://www.kidsfirst.org Supporting Quality Media for Children Since 1991
KIDS FIRST! Film Festival
KIDS FIRST! News
Granny Ranny’s Addenda
KIDS FIRST! Travel http://kidsfirst.agenthub.net/
Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. Robert Fulghum
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