I read some visitors are from English spoken countries, I wrote this post in that language that is not my maternal one, so I apologize if I made some mistakes.
Last year I gave a conference at the Senior Expo and I realized that the age of grandparents is reduced every day. I was a grandmother at forty years, one of my staff, at age 35.
So we have the fact of being grandparents when we are at the stage of increased productivity, immersed in a job that absorbs us much of our time, and we face a new role for which we are not prepared and on which there is no history, no specific pattern to follow. I decided to be “Abuela” (grandmother), not “abuelita”(grandma) as they say in Mexico (do not want to know how they say in the Yucatan).. Still there are people who criticizes my grandchildren because they feel a lack of respect or affection that they call me “abuela”.
So I found that grandchildren are a unique learning opportunity. My relationship with them has been very different from what I had with my children because I incorporated in our communication technology (e-mail and Skype). If I don´t do this, the generation gap becomes an unbridgeable gulf. Google has been a wonderful tool for me because when I was writing in the afternoons, my grandchildren phone to me in order to ask things about their homework, meantime they explained what they wanted, the search worked for me and so I could tell them immediately which of the three caravels of Columbus first entered port or something absurd like that. I say absurd because they make children memorize a bunch of little things and not practical issues they are not going to use in their adult lives, is obsolete and anti-educational.
We are in the XXI century, we have to teach them to read and write, to reason, logic, deductive procedure, how to find the information, to encode and decode, meaningful learning.
Well, the speed the support arrived made they became convinced that I knew everything and was the most intelligent of all members of my family, This was temporary. I was not going to follow the absurd rules of the mexican educational method, I taught them to use the computer and search and find what they needed by themselves. “Do not give them a fish, teach them to fish.”
One of my grandchildren ask me to review the story with which he entered a school competition when he was in 2nd grade and he got the first prize, which he repeated the next four years, (I just taught him to avoid repeating words or the cacophony, and so on. (he is the Steven Spielberg of the future) I showed another how to use mental maps to prepare a final exam. There’s always something we can help them, without devaluating their intellectual growth or affect their self-esteem.
What is your relationship with your children and your grandchildren? Are you a young grandfather? I invite you to create bridges of communication with them to pass the baton with the confidence to say: “Mission accomplished.” I am not speaking of parenting, I mean the modeling of overcoming, adapting to change, to move along the path of transcendence. What do you think about this?