I want all you grown-ups, who are grandparents to read carefully and remember to whom you are speaking. We are in the middle of the holidays that will bring you within a conversation with the very young generation. You need to be prepared.
Before we go any further all you grown-ups need to tilt your head just a bit and let all that grown-up stuff shake out of your head. It will come out one of your ears… if you let it. You have to shake your head a little to get it all.
Now, remember back when you were about six. You were either in first grade or getting ready to go into first grade. You have spent the summer preparing. One story after another has been told to you.
You have learned the hard way about a lot of things. For example: Don’t be surprised if you tell an animal-loving kid, that it is raining cats and dogs; then expect them not to run out in the rain and check it out. Or tell a kid you have to make it by the hair of your “chinny-chin-chin” and leave your razor out. Don’t be surprised when they take it apart and present the ‘chin hair’ you left behind. Don’t say anything about digging to China if you don’t expect someone to try. Don’t yell that you are going to spank someone then are surprised they did not come right away. When you send a kid out to pick out a switch do not expect them to come in with a tree branch. If you are playing hide and seek don’t be surprised when someone answers you when you ask, “Where are you?”
This is grandparent’s day here at the Senior Center. The kids are visiting with their grandparents. I have to laugh as I hear one kid demand to know, “What is wrong with the kitchen sink? You never want to throw it in.”
Then I think about all the things these kids will never get to experience. The wonderfully satisfying feeling of slamming down the phone. The fun of a record player. I see one little boy shaking his head and looking at a cell phone. I had to ask. “Why are you shaking your head?”
“She wants me to dial a number. How do I do that with buttons?” I tried to explain that the old phones had dials instead of buttons. His eyes are still big and his mouth open. He just can’t imagine why.
The confusion starts with some of the children’s stories and old sayings that only those of retirement age can interpret. We need to explain that when we are discombobulated we are not ready to die. When we are being persnickety it is not a lot of hullabaloos. No matter what shenanigans your grandchild is into hugs and love will always win the day.
When I was teaching I had one little boy who suddenly started showing up every morning with a bruise on the end of his nose. I was a little concerned and asked his mom, “What does the other guy look like?” She laughed and said she had no idea how he got it or why. If I could find out to let her know. I then felt it was safe to just ask him. His grandmother had read him a story about a little boy whose nose grew when he lied. His grandmother had joked with him not to lie… not even in his sleep. He was so afraid he would lie in his sleep he had started sleeping on his nose. It was painful but to him, it was better than waking up with a bigger nose. If you read a children’s story… tell them it is a story. Let them in on the secret that they are not true and not real.
I met a man named Jack today. He said, “Hello, my name is Jack.” All I did was start laughing. I did not want to be rude to the man but could not help myself. I remember when I was being introduced to a new little boy in the neighborhood. I was six. His name was Jack.
Jack climbs beanstalks, runs up hills with somebody named Jill and falls down (he also breaks his crown which means he is not a real prince), Jack O Marble is always falling off the swing, Jack jumps over candlesticks, Jack lives in a box. Jack O’Lanterns scare us on Halloween. Why would I want to play with someone who falls down, falls off, climbs too high, plays with fire, and lives in a box? Yet, Grandmother was surprised. I didn’t want him in the house.
A little boy named Jack moved in next door. I refused to play with him. Especially when I found out his middle name was Peter… Yikes… the pumpkin eater!
Make sure they know why they are getting a swat. Don’t be surprised if they think it is because they did not wipe the cake off their face rather than the fact they got in the cake.
Don’t be surprised. Kids are easy to understand. Just tilt your head and shake it a bit. When I told Jack what I have now told you, he told me he was always getting blamed for everything. We both laughed. He also said he would have made a fortune if he had been a bean salesman. Instead, he was a bean counter… again…we laughed.
Love is the bridge between generations. A strong bridge.Recommended1 recommendationPublished in