7 important lessons grandkids have taught me
I have now been a grandma for almost 7 years! As I look back on those past years, I realize that I am a better, smarter person because of the things my grandchildren have taught me. Here are the "top" lessons:
1. If you hurry, you will miss the really cool things
A butterfly, the designs in clouds or a cold dog nose.
Driving quickly (but at the speed limit) through the neighborhood, I missed seeing an eensy baby bunny on a neighbor's driveway. My grandson saw it though, and exclaimed "Where are that bunny's parents?! He shouldn't be out there alone!"
I notice that my mind is thinking hundreds of things - what to get for dinner, did I close the garage door, am I going to be late?When I slow down and see the world through their eyes, they have made me notice the world around me. The here and now: a bulldozer leveling ground, how fast storm clouds move when you really watch them, a praying mantis that blended in with a stick.
2. Really look at things around you.
You will be surprised at what you "see" for the first time.
There is a part of the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry where the prince has drawn a large black shape with tapered ends on each side. He is exasperated when adults say "what a wonderful picture of a hat," and he has actually drawn a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. He proclaims that "all grown-ups were once children, but few of them remember it."
Seeing "ordinary things" through their eyes has helped me notice some wonderful aspects of the world - previously passed over with adult eyes. Dandelions are no longer weeds - they are beautiful yellow flowers that are there for picking.
3. Wonder why
You will learn some eye-opening facts.
Learn about how things work. Grownups have forgotten how to wonder. Because of my grandkids' questions, we have both learned:
- Do birds sleep? (yes)
- Where do they sleep? (in trees and bushes with their feet tightly grasping branches)
- Why do squirrels wiggle their tails all the time? (to warn other squirrels to stay away - or show they are worried)
- Do ants sleep? (no!)
4. Ordinary items can be transformed
A box, water or old telephone are fascinating.
As a grandparent, you are tempted to buy that expensive new talking plastic thing that is usually $24.99. Sure, sometimes it is good to get a special present for a grandchild. But I have also learned that they have hours of fun playing with "nothing." Here are some examples of what I have seen:
- A tub of water and a paintbrush transforms the child into a painter of porches, landscape bricks or even windows.
- A box can become a fort, a car, a building block or house.
- Old telephones are suddenly the tool for a contractor to talk to his customers - or a chef to take a room service order.
5. Be happy to see someone - and show it.
Big hugs and big smiles never get "routine."
My granddaughters live only a few miles away. I see them several times a week. Every single time I see them, I am greeted with shouts of "Grandma!" Every single time. They even try to run so fast to hug me that they knock me over. That love, that display of true happiness is something I am trying to learn.
6. Personal beats store-bought
A handmade card, picture or dessert is worth far more than one purchased.
My grandkids draw a card for each family member for their birthday. There is usually meaning behind the images - even scribbles. "This means I am holding your hand and this is my big smile." A child-made plate of "dinner" - complete with a "toy" prize is priceless. I have learned that I would much rather have that than the best gourmet meal imaginable.
7. Sing loud, laugh openly and don't be stuffy
Your day will instantly improve.
Did you know kids laugh an average of 300 times a day - while adults laugh only 60. That's 80% less laughter in the average adult day! I have found that my grandkids sing. Loudly. They also laugh at funny words (zamboni, fiddledidee). This lesson reminds me of a quote from Winnie the Pooh.
"A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day."
A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh