Thursday, September 22, 2016

Grandson Lessons – You Can Like People But Sometimes a Crowd Is Overwhelming

As a writer, I’ve learned to observe events and people around me. This can provide insight into human nature and grist for writing material. An old writing adage is, “Everything is material.” One of the pleasures of observation has been getting to know my grandson who is now a little over a year old. Who says you can’t learn from little kids. I’ve picked up an amazing amount of knowledge during his first year.

For example, around our family he is very outgoing. He is a people person and responds with his smile to other smiles, likes interacting with all of us and makes his noises to communicate what he wants. But when he gets into a crowd such as when I’ve taken him to a children’s program at the library, he acts shy and subdued at the outset. It takes him a little time to get the lay of the land with all the noise, activity and new people. I can identify. A crowd can be intimidating. But after he watches for a while, he gets into things and when the play time comes, he’s out there grabbing toys with the rest of the kids.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Grandson Lessons - Look Around at the World

It’s interesting to discover something new. As I get older, I still find new things to marvel at. This has been reinforced by my one-year-plus grandson. He revels in finding new things to look at and play with. Outside our door is a tree. I never paid much attention to it until our grandson went up and patted it. Now I notice the pealing bark and smooth surface. Our grandson loves ceiling fans. He stares up at them. Have you watched a fan recently? They are mesmerizing. And playing blocks. They may seem bland, but he enjoys turning them over and looking at all sides. What do you know? They are different on each side. These are all little observations, but, hey, who says a grandpa can’t learn new stuff as well.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Grandson Lessons – You Don’t Need to Let a Bad Moment Define Your Whole Day

My one-year-old grandson continues to teach me new lessons every day I. As well as not holding a grudge, he rebounds quickly from bad moments. This is in contrast to times I find myself grumbling about some glitch long after it has taken place. My grandson has his share of falls and bumps, which lead to crying. But after a hug and wiping away the tears, he’s back to charging around as if nothing had happened. Resilience. No need to moan and groan about a problem when there are new things to explore and new skills to learn.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Grandson Lessons – Not Holding a Grudge

Babies are intriguing. They can go from smiling to crying and back to smiling in a blink of an eye. My grandson hates car seats, particularly when the seat has to face backward. It’s much more fun to see where you’re going than where you’ve been, and all his people are in the front seat. When I take him for a ride he starts out fine, but after about ten minutes he expresses his displeasure by crying. But when we get to our destination and I get him out of the car seat, he greets me with a big smile. All is forgiven. I have to remember that when someone displeases met—there’s no need to hold a grudge.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grandson Lessons - Perseverance

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my youngest grandson over the first year of his life. He has taught me many things during this time—one being perseverance. Since it has been well over three decades since our own kids were this age, I’ve had a chance to re-experience the learning abilities of a baby. We have a one step rise between our living room and the kitchen. When our grandson started crawling, he would bump up against this obstacle and stop. Over time he began experimenting with putting his hands up and eventually a leg. Then he would plop back down to the lower level. He kept at it and then got his whole body up. He finally could do this consistently, but he couldn’t figure out how to get down again. The whole process repeated and through perseverance, he learned how to turn around and back down the step. We are now going through the same determination on learning how to walk.
I’m reminded of a statement from the classical guitarist Andres Segovia who was asked when he was in his eighties why he still practiced three hours a day. His response, “I’m beginning to notice a little improvement.”

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Grandson Lessons - Problem of a Limited Point of View

Over the last year I have watched our grandson progress from lying in one position to moving around on his back, turning over, sitting up, crawling, standing and taking his first steps. His world has changed from seeing everything from only one point of view—looking up from his back to seeing things from different levels and being able to interact with his environment.
How many of us get locked into looking at the world only one way? Learning entails exploring, trying different viewpoints and interacting. A good lesson for me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What I Learned from My Grandson

The last year has been a whirlwind. We moved from Boulder, CO, to Lakewood, CA, and our grandson was born. He recently had his first birthday—a time to reflect over his first year. My wife and I were in the delivery room, and I have seen him almost every day since. When our daughter went back to work after her maternity leave, we became primary child care during the week. Rather than a burden, this turned out to be a joy. As I mentioned to my wife, I know my grandson better at this age than I did any of our three kids at this age because I was working full time when our kids were born and now I’m retired.
So what have I learned this last year? Plenty. I hope I have helped our grandson develop, but what follows are some of the lessons he has taught me.
Value of a Smile
Our grandson has a huge smile. Sure he has his grumpy moments, but most times when he wakes up from a nap or greats us at the door, he gives us a grandparent-heart-warming smile. And he isn’t faking it. He’s a happy kid who likes to share his happiness. He has taught me that greeting life with a smile is preferable to being a grump.