I have recently had the privilege of hanging out with my three-year-old grandson while his daycare was closed for a few days. Having this private time with him was packed full of life lessons. Below are a few of my takeaways.
1. It’s time to ditch the stereotype of ‘little old grannies’ (and ‘grumpy old grandpas’).
Tea in the rocking chair, anyone? None for me, thanks! I’ve got an active preschooler to catch up with. According to the Legacy Project, the average age of becoming a grandparent (US) is 50 for women and 52 for men. On top of this, grandchildren can reconnect you with adventure…and help you to burn a few extra calories in the process. At the end of each day, all muscles in my body felt like they had been through a top-notch workout. Later in the week, when Richard joined us, Grandpa couldn’t have been more content. (Another stereotype smashed!)
2. Life is now.
It’s time to let go of worrying about tomorrow or beating ourselves up over what happened yesterday. Children are masters of fully experiencing the here and now. It’s wise to take a page from their book and make every moment count.
3. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Like most three-year-olds, if Charlie wanted something, he asked for it directly. No hinting, no beating around the bush, no expectations of his Grandmother having ESP. I loved this simple, uncomplicated approach. I began to ponder what our world would be like if we all communicated this way.
4. There are tons of ways to have fun, and stay fit, without spending a cent! (Seriously, who knew?)
Parks, libraries, beaches, community centres (where we made that gorgeous popsicle stick lizard), long walks in historic neighbourhoods…the list is endless and the programs are varied. The above collage highlights just a few examples.
5. Touch heals.
Never underestimate the power of a hug or a trusting hand in yours. The sensation is incomparable…and does wonders for the mind, body, and soul. More and more researchers are confirming that the human touch can lower stress levels, boost our immune systems, and slow the progress of disease.
6. When you answer a child’s ‘why’ questions…be prepared for your words to be used against you.
I often wear a coiled ponytail holder on my wrist. When Charlie asked ‘why’ I told him that it was for ‘hair emergencies.’ A few days later, at a family-friend gathering, Charlie declared, “Grandma, you are having a hair-disaster!’ Point taken.
7. You aren’t always right (and neither is your GPS).
For our many adventures around town, I relied upon (or tried to rely upon) my iPhone’s GPS. On more than one occasion, Charlie cautioned that I was going the wrong way. I wish that I had believed him more quickly, it would have saved us many retraced steps!
8. Life is too short to stay mad.
My own grandmother was fond of saying, “Those who get mad must get glad again.” As I was growing up, I sometimes questioned this. Must they? Why? Do they? How?
Charlie reminded me that life is simply too short, and too full, to remain upset. Letting go of the anger helps to ensure that you don’t miss out. Wise lessons from both grandchild and great-great-grandparent!
9. Preserve Your Family History.
I recently re-blogged a post by Mike Nelson cautioning us that digital data will not last forever. His post was a stark reminder of something that I had been avoiding. Where and how will I preserve my blog (as well as other online photos and documents)? Many commenters questioned whether future generations would appreciate such preservation. Charlie’s vote appeared to be in favour of such safekeeping. On a poor weather afternoon, we begin to scroll through family photos on my computer. Not only was he keenly interested in pictures of himself, he also delighted in recognizing his parents and grandparents in their MUCH younger versions.
10. If your mirror has a monster in it, do not shout.
This kind of situation does not call for freaking out.
And do nothing that you would not like to see him do.
‘Cause that monster in the mirror, he just might be you.
(Monster in the Mirror)
These are part of the lyrics to Charlie’s favourite song. It’s been a quite a while since I’ve been to Sesame Street. I had forgotten (or previously missed) the valuable life lessons that can be found there as well. It’s interesting the insights we gain when viewing the familiar from an entirely different perspective!
In a couple of weeks, I will be spending time with my granddaughter, Jordyn, who is almost two-years-old. I expect more life lessons to be coming my way. Please stay tuned!