Monday, June 11, 2012

The Care and Feeding of Grandchildren

So what am I talking about here? I guess to do for them what that
past generation wasn’t able or interested in doing for me. To give
them a leg up on this wonderful opportunistic world of ours.

I’m not going to raise them. That’s not my responsibility. I know
Brian and Melanie and their respective spouses can do a great job
at that. My job, my responsibility, and my pleasure will be to simply
add benefit to their already rich lives.

I want to feed them a broad menu of experiences and opportunities.

Of course, there will be the obligatory biking, frisbee, T-ball, soccer, softball,
gymnastics, Go Fish, Left, Right, Center, and eventually Chess.

But I want to take a giant step beyond the norm.

Like cooking and baking with Nana and other culinary explorations. A zillion
crafts of every conceivable form. Extra-curricular school work with Nana and Papa,
garage-sales with Nana, toeing the Pacific with Papa, paddleboard and body-surfing, hiking in the mountains of Colorado and California, trail running, bouldering in Joshua Tree, feeling the bite of Lake Superior in Springtime, birding in our backyard, and so
many more as yet unimagined experiences.
I want them to become desert rats, surf charmers, ski bums, Northwood’s explorers,
rock climbers, trail runners, mountain bikers, road warriors, museum meanders, Costco diners, play goers, zoo explorers, and a plethora of other unique monikers they can wear with pride, not the least of which might be an americanized version of dharma brats.

Fortunately and yet unfortunately, my grandchildren weren’t born hungry. So I want to
impress upon them a philosophy of hard work and dedication to cause. Just as their parents and grandparents did before them.

I want to ignite a fire in their bellies that that drives them to excel at anything and every-thing they attempt to do. To be the very best that they can be and every other cliché we’ve all heard. I can’t do it for them. Their parents can’t do it for them. But perhaps together we can instill in their computer-like brains our own philosophy of hard work and a focus on education.

They need to understand that humility is a virtue. To remain low-key and let their actions
speak louder than their parent’s praise. Actions do speak louder than words.

It’ll be a challenge when the rents aren’t there. Brian has already perfected the routine: “Say, what are you doing for the next week?” Melanie is working on it. Montreal looks promising. Pretty soon they’ll team up to leave town and we’ll have all five grand-children to house, feed, and teach…if only for a brief period of time.

Maybe I can document ‘life with the grandkids’ as I did when I created a travel docu-mentary for Brian on his semester around the world or Melanie’s study abroad in Ireland. Something tangible they can hold on to even as their childhood memories start to fade and teenage attitudes begin to fill that void.

Whether it’s ‘Sweetpea and the Gang’ or any other ‘Tales of the Five’ I hope I can tell
stories around these five youngsters.

Children need to know that they are loved. These five unique human beings truly are and I am so blessed to be able to call them my grandchildren.

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