411 Focus

Grandparents... even as they made mistakes with their own children, they were building a wisdom reservoir to "fine tune" with another generation

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils

Once more with fill-in

Last week I shared my granddaughter’s view of reality television. I was surprised, and pleasantly, at her assessment – surprised a bit, but not overly. We hadn’t discussed it in depth, but she has been “in my shadow since she bumped my leg with every step in that horribly heavy convertible carrier/car seat that, if my memory serves somewhat, didn’t exist when her mom was a baby.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, though, because it’s darn near impossible for a kid to grow “all the way away from” the “parent” 40+ years removed. It’s destined to sorta, some kind of way, soak in some of its grandma. It’s almost impossible to have a “hands-off” grandma. After all, the old and young were made for each other!

Unfortunately, too many people don’t get that. The young too often look askance at the old, and the old see the young as “lost causes.” In truth, each enhances the other.

Grandparents have a greater reservoir of wisdom than parents. They’ve taught a generation, which means that, even as they made mistakes with their own children, they were building a wisdom reservoir to “fine tune” with another generation.

Oftentimes, older people dismiss their experience and knowledge (just like the younger ones) as outdated and irrelevant. In truth, it is extremely valuable. They alone have the opportunity to look back at what worked and what didn’t… at mistakes and successes.

Grandparents should not see their experience as “interfering,” but rather as amending the parents’ knowledge. Looking from a different vantage point, they are able to adjust their outlook, to see with different eyes, oftentimes eyes softer than their “parent” eyes.

Share with your grandchildren. Engage them in conversation, serious conversation. Discuss news, politics, values. Get their take on current events, things that may not be a priority for them as teens, and wouldn’t be unless an adult brought it into their consciousness. Catch them at a time in their lives when they think their thoughts are unimportant, that they have no power to change anything – and, without a “tugging” from another generation, haven’t even considered what needs changing.

Do not allow your grands to grow up unsure of your principles, your beliefs. Don’t be afraid to nudge them, to push them, to indoctrinate them. Share your values. Engage them in dialogue that helps to set their moral compass. Others who don’t love them – and never will – do it every chance they get. You love them: Why give up “home court advantage”?

As the children you’ve cherished grow, they will value your “interference,” for the road ahead is not an easy one. Indeed, it is filled with potholes, unexpected turns, distractors and waylayers whose only purpose in life is to keep them from reaching their goals.

How well they maneuver that road will depend on the start they’ve gotten. Do not downplay, and thus neglect, your part in that start.

Story Posted:08/19/2017

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