Sunday, November 8, 2009

Teggy’s Birthday Surprise

Since Tegrim’s birthday was a work-night for me, I didn’t have time to go shopping before the party – and as it was I arrived a little late. So, after everyone headed home I went to the local ‘everything store’ (Wal-Mart, of course) to find him a present. He loves the Disney Pixar Movie Cars and had already started collecting them. It seemed every car they had that night at Wal-Mart, little Teggy already had – except for Frank, the big combine that chases the cars off the fields when they go ‘tractor tipping’. It was only just recently his momma told me that he finally quit running to hide when Frank would come on the screen……, I thought it would be safe enough to get him the cute little tractor-tipping set that came with Frank.

After getting it all wrapped (quick and easy in a gift bag), I took it over to Jericho and Emily’s house to give to my little two-year old grandson. Unfortunately, the party having worn his little self out, he had fallen fast asleep! I told them what I had bought him, and they thought he would like it. Since I hadn’t seen them in awhile, I put my keys and cell phone in my pockets, and stayed to visit awhile. Just when I was about to head out the door little Teggy woke up. Jericho told me to come on back and give him his present, so I turned around, picked up the gift and called Tegrim to come and open it.
He was more curious than excited……..I think he had the concept down pretty well from his party ---- that there was probably something fun inside the package. He pulled it out, saw Frank’s picture on the box, and let out a long “ohhhhhhh……” His eyes were big, but he didn’t appear to be frightened at all.

“Grand-mommy take it out of the box for you?” Jericho asked him, and he shook his head ‘yes’. Since everything seems to come in ‘anything-but-easy-to-open’ packages, it took me awhile to get the box open. But, when I finally gained access to its contents, there was Frank, right on top. Tegrim was standing just a couple feet away from where I was sitting……… I pulled Frank up out of the box, turned his face toward Teggy, held the little toy up in front of his face as he gazed at it with wonder, and “BZZZZZZZZZ” went my pocket! I jumped up and screamed at the same time, as if I’d been stung. Frank jumped at the same time, of course, right in front of Teggy’s face………….. who then proceeded to run into the kitchen screaming and crying at the same time!!!! Unbelievably, someone had called me at the precise moment I managed to hold Frank up in front of little Teggy’s curious face!!

Trying to grab my cell phone and answer it, and calling after Tegrim that I was sooooo sorry to have scared him, at the same time, had everyone rolling with laughter. By then I couldn’t help but laugh myself to tears, too!! At least all the laughter had seemed to calm Teggy down some, and he came back for hugs and comfort. BUT, no matter how hard we tried we could NOT get Tegrim to get anywhere in close proximity of Frank. We set up the track and he thought Lightning McQueen racing down the track to tip over the tractors was pretty cool……….. but, he wanted no part of Frank. Apparently, he was not upset with me at all and had assumed in his little two-year-old mind that Frank was indeed the enemy who had advanced in his face with a snarl! The best we could do is to ‘punish’ Frank and banish him to his Uncle Josh’s bedroom for the night. He did repeat after us “BAD FRANK” and that was that!!!

The story does have a happy ending, though………, we are not completely mean for having had a good laugh that evening. Tegrim has since ‘made up’ with Frank ………… and now, when he holds Frank up for us, HE is in control and is the one who lets out the “Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”!!! The tractors are now safe in Tegrim and Frank’s care!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Autumn, that time of year the leaves all change from different shades of green to warm yellows and golds and brilliant reds and oranges!  Eventually the trees lie barren for the winter months, and the leaves toss each other across the road and crunch beneath our feet.  The air becomes much cooler and crisper, a refreshing difference from the summer sweats.  Apples are fully ripe now, and are freshly picked, eaten, sold, canned or pied.  Orange pumpkins dot the fields in all sizes, just waiting to be chosen for a child's jack-o-lantern. Air conditioners are turned off, windows are opened during the day, and eventually it is time to turn on the heat.  Change is in the air!

Change -- I started thinking about it.  Winston Churchill once said "The only constant is change".  How true that is...... we experience change more than we do anything else.  The weather changes from season to season, and if you travel you may experience change in climate in just one day.  Civilization changes no matter where you live as advances are made in the way things are accomplished.  People change from children into adults; and, as healthy adults they continue to learn and grow in wisdom and knowledge. Dress, decor and tastes change.  Some changes are subtle, some are 'revolutionary'.  No matter how you slice it up, though, change is inevitable.

So, what does this have to do with making a difference for our children?  Everything!  Especially for children born in this era, change is happening faster than ever!  Technology is advancing so fast it seems even the most brilliant of scientists can barely keep up with it.  What the children learn in school this year, could very well be ancient history by the time they graduate college.  Teachers, books, lessons...... they can all teach our children information, and in the best case scenario they will have at least a few teachers who have a passion for their profession and instill a love of learning in them.  A child who 'learns how to learn', and is able to apply their imagination to the facts, will take us places in our future that have yet to be dreamed.  And the same child who is also adaptable to change will surpass them all!

Who do you know that has the most experience with change?  Those of us who have been around awhile, of course.  It's one of those facts of life, isn't it?  The longer you live, the more likely you will have been through at least a few changes.  My grandmother was born when most people still used horses and buggies as a means for travel, and indoor plumbing and telephones were luxuries.  If she wanted information, she had to go to the public library, or be sure to buy the latest edition of her encyclopedia set.  Now telephones are not only common in the home, but are carried around by adults and teens alike wherever they go.  And instead of checking books out from the local library, each day more and more people are joining the online crowd of information seekers.

It isn't an easy task, to help a child to develop an ability to adapt to change, but I believe it is an extremely important one.  Children do need a sense of security as well, which is what makes this task such a challenge.  This can be accomplished by providing for their basic internal needs such as love, encouragement, acceptance and recognition on a regular basis.  With an atmosphere rich in these qualities children will feel secure within themselves, making external changes less dramatic.  With loving and supportive surroundings they will be much more apt to explore their world, and will not view changes around them as threatening.  Changes can become an exiting part of their lives, and can ignite their curiousity and imagination rather than instilling fear.

As grandparents we can not only help to provide such an atmosphere, but we can share our own personal stories of experiencing change.  Children love to hear stories and doing so creates a shared journey as they join you in their thoughts.  They are simply amazed that there was a time when TV was only in black and white, home phones were not portable, and no one even knew what a computer was.  They can hardly believe cartoons were only seen on Saturday mornings, and girls wore only skirts and dresses to school no matter how cold the weather might have been.  But, they enjoy hearing about the personal growth changes we've experienced, too.  It is encouraging to them when they hear stories about events such as having to move and make all new friends. Or, about going back to college ten years after graduating from High School. Or, even better, to watch us develop a new skill or talent. 

Recently I had my piano tuned, and I started playing it again after it sat dormant for almost fifteen years!  This change sprouted a bit of interest in some of the children, who had seen my piano nicely decorating the recreation room but had never seen it played.  Which demonstrates another aspect of change - it has a sort of domino effect.  Of course, not all of them have stuck with it, but they experienced a shot at something they might not have otherwise tried.  And, for those that do continue to play the piano, perhaps they will pick up another instrument or two in the future -- and, who knows how many others will be affected by this change in their lives!

When children grow up being adaptable to change, they are more willing to try new things, even if they aren't completely sure about them.  Whether it's playing an instrument or trying new foods, this skill obviously creates more options in life than being afraid of change.  They also become more fully aware of their own interests and abilities as they become involved in different activities, and eventually discover where their greatest strengths and passions lie.  And instead of having a negative attitude when they find something they don't really enjoy, or aren't able to do as well, they chalk it up as a learning experience and move on to find more of what they do enjoy and can excel at it.

Yes, change is in the air - today, tomorrow, always........... lets help our children to embrace change as a postiive part of life and give them a winning edge in doing so!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vampire Girls

It's been a couple of very busy weeks!  I guess you could call it 'fall cleaning' - preparing for the winter - and having some fall fun while the weather is still agreeable :)  And, of course, still making time to spend time with the grandkids.  Two of them are just a few months apart, and both are in 9th grade this year........ and like many teen girls are hooked on the "Twilight" vampire series of books (and movie) so they decided last weekend to 'become' vampires - and they certainly engaged their imaginations in doing so.  I thought I'd share a couple pictures, just to give you an idea of how much fun life can be when interacting with teenager granddaughters............

"Vampire Heart"                                               "The Look"     

"The ODD Reflection"

And, when they started to get bored with that......... they decided to play with a can of shaving cream!  By the way -they took these pictures themselves...............

   "Spiking the Hair"                       "Still half-vampire"                                   

                                                                                            "Biting the Rain"

It was definitely quite a hysterical evening - with these girls around there never really are any dull moments'.  It's a good thing they don't have a video camera - I am sure they would have fun with our 'dance' evenings when they have their music on and are trying to teach me all the new 'moves'!!  They just don't believe in my being a spectator - it was all I could do to avoid the shaving cream :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


“Logic will get you from point A to point B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ---- Albert Einstein.

I am a firm believer that children learn and grow more in every area of their lives through the use of their imaginations than by any other form. Anyone who has been around small children has most likely been exposed to imaginary role play or ‘pretending’. Although some role play may seem to be gender-specific, most of the time it is not so in children’s minds. Almost every child at some point in their development has prepared a pretend food, meal or drink and served it to a participant in their play acting. Whether the item is completely imaginary, invisible to the human eye, or not, is irrelevant to the child. They serve it to their playmate as if it were real, and fully expect the item to be taken and consumed in their presence.
Some children are more expressive in their imaginative actions than others. For example, when Gabriel was three years old he would pretend he was everything from a fire truck (not the driver, but the actual truck) to animals, such as dogs and cats. He would make the sounds of the truck as he went through the house, and even announced that he would like to be a fire truck when he ‘grew up’. Even though he is now seven, he still asks if he can be my pet dog, and if I comply he will insist on being ‘named’ and will only respond from that point forward as if he were really a dog. If I forget and call him Gabriel, or ask something of him that a dog could not answer or perform, he simply barks, or lets his tongue hang out as he pants and cocks his head. At that moment in time he ‘is’ a dog in his own mind.

Boys and girls in their early years pretend to take on many different roles, from parenting and other family-oriented roles to acting the part of many career positions. They fully engage in these activities as if they were real. When playing outside they can create their own cities, countries, or sometimes even other worlds. As far as they are concerned, there is no limit to the world that exists through their imaginations. Nothing is thought to be impossible.

Of course, knowledge is important – from facts that can be memorized to the concepts found within mathematics, science and technology, or even the grammatical constructs of the English language. However, knowledge is but a tool – and without imagination is void of producing anything of real value. It is obvious that technology is now growing at an exponential rate; but without imagination – the ability to see beyond what is in the present form of reality – this knowledge would never take on a visibly new form.

What the paint brush is to the artist, knowledge is to the imaginative soul. A mind may be full of facts and concepts, the ‘tools’, but without an ‘idea’ formed visibly within the conscious awareness of thought, it can never be applied to the canvas of life. As grandparents, or another 'significant other’, in children’s lives, we have the opportunity to help develop and continue to nurture a child’s imagination throughout their entire life. The schools, and parents, may be able to encourage some creativity, but with all the other responsibilities in teaching and training that belong to them they don’t have the time or resources to devote a great amount of time to the development of imagination.

Perhaps that is yet another reason why going to ‘Grandma’s House’ is such an attraction to children of all ages. It is there they can ‘be themselves’ to create, experiment, and explore their world without the regular responsibilities and confines of a more structured environment. Both are necessary, of course; but, what an awesome privilege it is indeed to be able to engage in one of the most exiting, adventurous and fun elements of our children’s lives. I trust you will look for and find as many ways as possible to encourage the use of imagination as you spend time with the children or grandchildren who are in your life. And, I hope I can persuade you to share a few comments regarding some of the imaginative activities in which you and your children or grandchildren have been involved…………and perhaps stretch your own imagination even further!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life's Mirror

One of my granddaughter’s, Haley, and I, share a favorite author, Frank Peretti. He writes supernatural thrillers, and has great insight into the ‘unseen forces’ at work in our world. Recently, she finished a book he co-authored with Ted Dekker, called “House”, which she left with me to read. It didn’t take me very long, because as with all his books, once you get into the meat of it you can hardly put it down until you get to the end!

In case anyone would like to read it, I don’t want to say too much about the story line and ruin the suspense, and all the mind-bending twists throughout the tale, for you. But, I do want to share something that came to mind tonight as I was on my nightly walk with my Yorkie, Kaysi. In the book, the main theme centers on the characters facing the evil within them. As I was reflecting on what I had read, I realized that much of the life we see and experience around our ‘self’ is merely a reflection of what is already within us – sometimes deep within us, so deep it is beyond our conscious thought.

I don’t know about you, but when my surroundings are neat and orderly, I feel more balanced and undisturbed. I used to think that I made things that way so that I would feel more orderly and in control on the inside. But, I realize now that it is the opposite that is true --- that when I am in control, calm, confident, ‘collected’, on the inside, my surroundings take on the same character – being neat and tidy. If I begin to feel chaotic on the inside, however, suddenly it seems my entire house is upside down and everything is out of place!

Even our relationships ‘mirror’ to us what is truly going on inside of us. When we are at peace with ourselves, our relationships are smooth and we feel very connected with others. But, when we are at odds with our own ‘self’ – perhaps not living in congruence with a core belief in some way or another – or we feel angry or depressed --- our relationships with others become stormy, too. And, being the human creatures that we are – we will unknowingly and even unwittingly begin to find ways to fill the voids within us in an attempt to soothe our soul, more often than not in ways that are neither healthy nor truly effective. Unless, of course, we make a conscious effort to find the true cause underlying our stormy emotions.

Stop for a minute and take a personal ‘inventory’ of your surroundings……….. what might they be trying to tell you? Just as we use a mirror to view our physical appearance in order to make whatever adjustments we believe are necessary to what we see --- even so, we can use our physical environment and the events in our lives like a mirror of what is going on inside of us. And, in the same way we change our physical appearance to portray our best ‘self’ – we can ‘make adjustments’ on the inside to become the person we really would like to be, too. We can be sure that as we do this, things around us will eventually change. Sometimes it’s as simple as correcting our attitude – other times it may take some real deep soul-searching and a willingness to see what may be hiding there. Regardless to whether we use the information we gather from ‘life’s mirror’ to our advantage or not, the universe will continue to reflect our true inner image to us.

If we truly want to be a positive influence on our grandchildren, and their peers, we must first start by setting a good example in every area of our lives – including our own personal growth. How can we help our grandchildren learn to view their life’s circumstances as their own ‘mirrors’ of life – if we are reluctant to do so ourselves? However, as we begin to use our circumstances, surroundings and even events, as useful information to help us make adjustments in our thinking, we will find opportunities to help our grandchildren do the same.

Don’t like what you see? . Einstein said, “You can’t solve problems with the same mind that created them.” So, decide what it is you do want, and then do whatever it takes to change your current attitude and reprogram your thinking in a way that will help you create what it is you truly desire.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grandma Stories - The Dragon

No grandmother’s pages would be complete without some true stories…………those which happen spontaneously when you are around little children. I will share such tales from time to time in my posts. Today’s story is about “The Dragon”.

When our granddaughter, Stephanie, was about four years old we had a big, white, Chevy Astro Van. Whenever her “Papa” was at the wheel he would use the phrase “Whoa, Dragon!” whenever he would have to come to a stop more quickly than he anticipated. One evening we were on our way home in the van, with a few of our younger children and Stephanie in the back seat – everyone chatting and laughing along the way. Papa looked up just in time to notice the light had turned red shortly before we reached an intersection. As always, he yelled out “Whoa, Dragon!” as he quickly applied the brakes.

As the van was gliding to a halt, Stephanie cried out, “I hear it! I hear it, Papa!” Catching us all off guard, we questioned her as she continued to proclaim to us -- in no uncertain terms – that she had indeed “heard it”. Since she remained adamant, we kept asking her, “What, Stephanie? What did you hear?” Quite pleased, she finally announced, “The dragon – I heard the dragon!” It suddenly dawned on the rest of us that she had heard the squeal of the brakes as we had come to our abrupt halt at the red light. It was obvious to her at least, that the “Dragon” had obeyed her Papa’s command.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Time - Living in the Moment

Do you remember taking a bath as a child? If you do, I am sure you have many tub-time memories; however, there is a specific bath tub experience I would like you to think about. Remember what happened when bath time was over, and the plug had to be pulled? You probably waited until all the water was gone before climbing out of that tub – and in doing so witnessed the swirling of the water until it became its own little whirlpool, like a small tornado sucking the water down into the drain. And, in watching, you were probably either terrified, or fascinated, by this bath time event.

An interesting observation is that when the plug is first pulled the water doesn’t appear to be disappearing very fast at all. In fact, there still seems to be some time left to play. But, once it passes the half-way mark, that swirling little tornado of a whirlpool seems to be sucking the water out of the tub faster and faster……. hence the terror some children experience when they feel they, too, might somehow get sucked down that ominous hole! However, there are those who, instead, stand still and watch with fascination until every drop of water is gone.

Time is like that draining water in the bath tub. The water fills up around us as we grow into adulthood, and then BAM! the plug is pulled and the drain begins its work. At first, we don’t even notice it. But, about half-way through life we can’t help but perceive that time begins to swirl all around us, elusive, within yet without our grasp. We can become terrified, which sends us spinning in circles along with the whirlpool and headed quickly for the drain. We can fight it and get lost in the battle. Or, we can become fascinated by this seeming turn of events as time appears to be going faster and faster, and watch with observation every swirl as is passes by. We can even become ‘one’ with the swirl and experience its every movement.

This is what it means to ‘live in the moment’. We become ‘one’ with the events that are occurring at just that moment, as they happen. Instead of trying to fight, run or hide from the passing of time, we embrace it. We experience every minute, drinking it like a refreshing glass of cold water – smelling its unique fragrance – tasting the goodness of the gift of life – touching the lives of those who encounter it with us – and hearing the melody that only that instant can bring! When we do this, we are truly alive; more alive than we ever were in our youth. So alive we can connect with our grandchildren, and even with others, in a way that is almost unexplainable to them.

Living in the moment is so much more than just remembering to ‘stop and smell the roses’. It’s a constant choice to savor every ounce of life, whether it appears to be good or bad in our present state of awareness. As we experience life in this way, we become like a dry sponge dipped into a huge pool of revitalizing water, filling up every particle until we are completely saturated with its invigorating nature. “Ahhhhhh, to be full of life!”

Monday, September 7, 2009

Planting Good Thought-Seeds

Planting Good Thought-Seeds

Thoughts……do they really matter? It’s been said that everything man creates begins with a thought. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that we are what we think in our heart. It’s also been said “Where the mind goes, the man follows” -- Joyce Meyer. Or, “Where focus goes, energy flows”. And, often we’re asked to “think about it” before giving someone an answer or making a decision. Even Einstein recognized the power of the mind when he said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” So, then, how important are our thoughts, really? And, what could they possibly have to do with being a grandma?

Turning fifty was a life-changing year for me, not only in turning my health around, but also in changing my mind – more specifically, my thought-life. Oh, the wisdom of hindsight and realizing how true those principles were that I really never grasped during the know-it-all days of my youth. The more years I live, the more I realize how little I really know!! However, I also keep growing and continue to learn the deeper truths pertaining to life; those which are eternal and effective, regardless to whether we are conscious of their existence, or not.

Have you ever planted a garden, or watched someone who has? Seeds go into the fertile soil, then are watered and soak up the sunshine as they mature into the plants they were designed to be. Plant tomato seeds and you get tomatoes, plant cucumber seeds and they yield cucumbers, plant corn and what should you expect? You would obviously expect a harvest of corn. Thoughts work the same way; and who better to plant good ‘thought seeds’ than Grandma?

If Mom or Dad tells their children something profound, it seems it is almost an unwritten code that at least during some point in their lives they will question it. But, let Grandma offer the same advice, and it takes on a whole new meaning. Grandma makes life fun and exciting, remember? Surely, what she says should at least be given a second thought, and perhaps even seriously taken to heart. She’s seen as the one who has only the children’s best interests in mind, making life fun and adventurous!

What are some good ‘thought-seeds’ grandmas can plant in the rich soil of her grandchildren’s minds? I believe the first and most important ‘thought-seed’ is that they possess the ability to choose their thoughts, in each and every moment, no matter what is going on around them. For example: one of my granddaughters was having an extremely hard time being placed in ‘Time Out” during times she truly believed she had done nothing wrong. After discussing other factors, such as her parents’ expectations and what they believed was acceptable behavior, or not, I turned the focus to what was going on inside of ‘her’ during her time in “Time Out”.

I explained to her that she could focus on her anger, and why she believed she didn’t belong there – or, that she could use that time instead to think of what she would be doing once she was no longer sitting there. I also suggested she could think even further ahead, and dream about some of the things she would like to do later in her life – things in which she could be involved during her years in school, career ideas and choices as an adult, places she might like to live or travel…….even ways she might like to give into others’ lives.

Over the next few months, not only did her attitude change about being in “Time Out’, she actually spent less time there and more time doing some things she really enjoyed, such as reading. We also worked together to create a ‘media’ vision board (called “Mind Movies”), which she now watches every day. She has become more focused, and tends to make decisions that will lead her toward reaching her goals (and she is only 14!)

Of course, I didn’t just plant that ‘thought-seed’ and leave it to itself. After the initial ‘planting’ of that seed, we talked about the new things she would think about during her “Time Out” sessions. And, we created her vision board together. This ‘watering’ of the ‘thought-seeds’ is also important, in order to help grow and develop these precious seeds.

And, as with other ways Grandma influences her grandchildren, the effect of her influence works its way upward to their parents……….. perhaps the meaning of the words “and a little child shall lead them.” :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Leading By Example

Leading by Example

Three years ago, just before my fiftieth birthday, I realized that if I didn’t make some quality lifestyle changes I would become one of those fat people sitting in a rocking chair watching my grandchildren run and play instead of being able to experience life along side of them. I had taken an office job and had gained another 20 pounds, pushing me just into the boundaries of obesity. With little energy and having to often stop and catch my breath, I could barely keep up with my grandchildren, especially while playing outside. I knew that if I continued on this path, the choices of activities we could enjoy together would diminish quickly. It was then I made up my mind to do whatever it took to regain my health and vitality.

A famous Chinese Proverb says “When the student is ready the teacher will appear”. In my case along came Cinch®an inch-loss system that is not just another diet or weight loss program, but it comes with products designed to make you lose the fat and keep the muscle, allowing you to maintain an optimum metabolism. It also comes with software, called “Cinch Coach®”, which works as your own personal trainer and dietician. As soon as I started the program I was exercising daily, eating healthy meals and eating healthy snacks.

WOW! After five months of doing everything my “Cinch Coach®” told me to do, I went from a size fourteen to a size FOUR!! I hadn’t been that small in almost twenty years!! I was able to stop taking blood pressure medicine, which I had been using almost six years, my blood sugar was back to normal levels, and most importantly (to me) I was able to run and play with my grandchildren again, and even better than I had been able to before I had gained the extra weight! Grandma could now play softball again – and even though I am not the best one up to bat, my grandchildren LOVE it that I am out on the field with them instead of along the sidelines!

Regaining my own health and strength was rewarding in itself; but, here comes the power of being Grandma. As the grandchildren continued to come over to “Grandma’s House”, during the time I was making dramatic lifestyle changes and eating habits, they watched – and then they imitated what they saw. (Isn’t that what kids do best – watch what we do – and then copy it?) Interestingly, they began to eat things like salad, brown rice, or even broccoli, with me. (If Grandma does it, it’s got to be good, right?) And, with childhood obesity on the rise today, it’s important that children learn healthy eating habits as early as possible!

But, the influence didn’t stop with them. Over the next couple of years, my children also began to make healthy lifestyle changes. They cut things like soda pop and salt out of their diets, and added more fruits and vegetables. Instead of fried or fast foods, they grilled or baked their meats and ate more poultry rather than red meats. Healthy eating became a new way of life for them. And, they even implemented exercise into their daily routines, with some doing more activities, such as bike riding, together as a family.

Can Grandma make a difference? You bet she can!! Taking charge of her health through a healthy weight loss program may only be one way to do so. But, it certainly is an important and life-changing way! “Choose life that you and your descendants may live” Deut. 30:19. Perhaps at least a small part of the wisdom contained in that verse is the concept that our children and grandchildren really do learn what we live, rather than what we say or tell them to do. Therefore, when we make healthy lifestyle choices we are laying a good foundation for the health of our future generations! Whether you’re a grandma, mother, sister or aunt – if there is anyone in your life that looks up to you – make a decision to take charge of your health, and the life you change, or even save, may be more than just your own!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

On Being a Grandma

Being Grandma to nineteen grandchildren (current count) is one of the most rewarding roles I’ve experienced so far in this journey called “Life”. Before that, of course, it was being Mom to seven children. One of my favorite sayings is “If we had known grandchildren were this much fun, we’d have had them first!” But then, the paradox is that if they had come first, they would’ve been the training ground for all the life lessons that laid the groundwork for the fun of being a grandparent.

Everyone has had a grandma, currently has one for themselves or their children, or is a grandma. The dictionary definition of the word doesn’t begin to describe ‘who or what’ a grandma really is: NOUN 1. The mother of one’s father or mother. I believe a more accurate description would include words like “gracious, wise, fun, clever, refined, loving, nurturing, supportive, flexible, compassionate and encouraging.” She is an incredible woman who has obviously had experience in raising children, more likely than not, by the trial and error method, including both parent and child personal growth and development. She knows how to make even the most boring or difficult tasks fun and enjoyable, while at the same time maintaining order and control of the situation at hand. And, her expertise in emotion management can turn a pout into a smile on the face of any child, with an almost magical atmosphere of peace and contentment. When most people think of “Grandma”, memories of wonderful times surface and spill forth from within.

I became a grandmother while in my thirties, and I was still raising my younger children as the older ones were busy multiplying, So, I continued my on-the-job training as a parent as well as learning to be a grandmother. As we mature over the years, I notice that life-priorities change and we adjust our thinking and methods during this process. Of course, this created quite a challenge for me, in that my younger children noticed that the grandchildren would ‘get away with’ things I had been rather adamant about when they were ‘that age’! Eating what was put on your plate (and all of it at that!) gave way to a more relaxed view of at least giving each new taste a try before you decide whether you like it or not. Life began to come down to the bare values – of what really is important - before making a hard and fast rule about something.

Is eating all your vegetables as important as feeling safe in trying new things with the confidence that you are able to decide for yourself whether or not you will like it; and whether or not you will choose to experience it again? Is it better to obey for the sake of the rule, or for the value of the goal? Does every mistake need a punishment, or is it better to sometimes allow the natural consequences of our actions be the teacher? As a grandma I have learned it is much better to build confidence, than demand conformity, to work together for a common goal rather than dictate, and to allow room for failure, as being free to learn from our errors is part of the only true road to success in life!

Although we now live in a fast paced, highly technological, multi-media world, we can still utilize the same skills past grandmas have used in order to make a difference in the lives of their grandchildren. At home, children have their fill of electronic devices and games, but when they come to “Grandma’s House” life takes on a whole new perspective – one of personal interaction. If it’s to be done, it’s to be done together! And, one of the basics a grandmother knows is that children learn a whole lot more from what we do, rather than from what we say! We live it – they learn it! That children learn by example has become second nature to a grandma in everything she does. And, amazingly, not only does this affect her grandchildren, but her now grown children as well.