42. Memories: Making Sense of All These Years of Living and Passing On a Legacy to My Grandchildren

10003113_10152340093435460_650990473_nLately I’ve been thinking about the flood of memories that come at unexpected moments when you get to be an “older,” “elder,” or “senior.” Maybe it was the first anniversary of my father’s death at 102 this March, or maybe a function of all the years and experiences “under the belt” (along with all those desserts)!

The many chapters of my life don’t appear to have much to do with each other, each stage so different in setting, in experience. But in reality, each stage has been built on the previous ones. From the small town and the farm to the big city, from one-room school to university, from safe and happy family to semi-orphan to family and to long-term (32 years now) relationship, from department store assistant (cleaning the canaries’ cages, among other duties) to teacher, academic counselor (with retirement plan!), from North Dakota to international travels—all an amazing journey for me, one that doesn’t always make sense, but one I have enjoyed and learned from.

Which brings me to two sentiments that popped up on Facebook today:

1.     Live for today: Every day is a gift. Cherish the past, and

2.     Pass on your legacy to your children and grandchildren.

While these two sentiments may seem contradictory, they don’t have to be.  I plan to reflect on and write about all those memories and see what comes. My experience with writing, especially writing feelings, brings a certain peace. I’m so pleased to see Susan Adcox’s (http://grandparents.about.com) new book*, Stories From My Grandparent: An Heirloom Journal for Your Grandchild. Using Susan’s book, I plan to focus on sharing my “legacy” with my grandchildren. 


41. Money and Grandchildren

S.D. writes: “I’m concerned about my grandchildrens’ futures, with education so expensive and jobs so scarce. What can I do to help them see the importance of getting a good education, good work, and saving for retirement. I don’t want them to be in the position we are as we face retirement without enough saved.”

First, it is my understanding that there are jobs available for individuals with the right education and/or training. Young people can explore their interests, abilities, and develop basic skills that translate later into successful higher education or job training, after which they will be able to secure work, hopefully in their chosen field.  (Some basic skills: English, math, computer and keyboarding, and social skills for success at school and work).

I know, “youth is wasted on the young,” and the coming generation has been labeled as self-involved, but there are some creative ways to help them understand that taking charge of earning, spending, and saving money will enable them to achieve the goals they set for themselves.

What we do with money, how we make decisions about money, may teach our children and grandchildren more about money that we wanted to. I am a good example of that. As my children were growing up, I missed opportunities to give them tools for “successful” money management.

Setting limits falls to the adults, and this applies to money issues, as well. We set limits on ourselves (or we need to learn how to do that), and setting limits with consistency and fairness in relation to money enables young people to learn how to eventually do that for themselves.

At young ages, there are some activities that make learning about money interesting and understandable. I remember a high school assignment to plan a budget for a family, using my own family’s income and expenses. My parents were startled but cooperated, and I was surprised at what is required to “run a household.”

A fun example: USA Today’s Guide to Kids Health, has a unique suggestion: A Four-Bank System: GIVE, SPEND, GROW, and SAVE, with activities for each.


For older children, Ron Blue, in “Teaching Your Children to Handle Money,” (taken from his book Generous Living, Published by Zondervan) emphasizes three concepts young people need to understand: 1. Limited resources; 2. Delayed gratification; and 3. Work ethic. He has given examples and suggestions in these areas. (Come to think about it, these concepts are important throughout life.)


40. A Valentine’s Wish

1625580_10201578542641399_1596416696_nIt seems that today’s children have no inhibitions about expressing what they don’t like and what they do want–a very different experience of self expression than that of prior generations. I have been somewhat puzzled and amazed by the way my generation–at least most everyone I’ve known–would not have dreamed of discussing our feelings with the adults around us, especially those feelings toward family members–and even our worries or goals for the future. I marvel at how strong the prohibition against this aspect of life was in the 40s, 50s.

However, Continue reading

39. Reinvention: Often A Necessity for 50+ Folks

Grandparents: Stuck in a rut? Facing a financial crisis? Not sure how to find new value, meaningful activity, in life?

I was inspired by an interview with Jane Pauley this morning (Morning Joe, MSNBC), on the occasion of her new book* on reinventing oneself through the years. Her 2013 resolution was to “say “yes” more often (and “no” less often); her 2014 resolution was to “say “yes” to new things.” Continue reading

38. My Wish: A Happy, Healthy New Year to All!

Happy New Year, Grandparents! Have you made some New Year’s resolutions? Or have you given up attempting to succeed–from past experience with resolution-making?  Don’t give up! It’s a New Year, with new possibilities! Continue reading

37. Happy Holidays, Grandparents!

1497643_10203006824717103_1943373048_nWhen you can’t purchase lots of gifts or spend a lot of time volunteering, you can find other ways, maybe smaller-in-size, but just as (or more than), meaningful to your family, friends, and even strangers! We need to remind ourselves that our caring for others does not need to be measured in dollars and cents! I’m working this list! (from Cate Cooper, courtesy of my wise and generous daughter, Amy, who re-posted this on Facebook)

36. Grandpa too strict? But what to do?

Children who are “allowed” to sass, hit, disrespect the adult, do not feel good about it and end up not feeling good about themselves.

LB, TX, writes: My husband and I do not agree about how to discipline our grandson, age 8, when he spends the weekends, while our daughter, a single parent, is working. My husband thinks our grandson should be punished and Continue reading

35. “Fifteen per cent of US young people out of school, work.*”

“Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working,” according to The Opportunity Nation coalition report (10/21/13). This is not a surprise to the many grandparents and parents concerned about their young people’s futures these days! For a grandparent or parent with a young adult at home and not at school or work, this is a scary thing Continue reading

34. Granddaughter reports she has low self-esteem

My granddaughter, age 13, announced that she has low self esteem, and my daughter asked me to provide activities that will help address this issue when she stays with us. It makes sense, in that she’s not doing as well as she probably could be doing in school, but I know she doesn’t lack in ability Continue reading

33. Advice to newly-married grandchild: Benefits of cooking together

KL: My grandson and his new wife are struggling. They both have college degrees but haven’t found work. I’m no expert on that, but I’d like to be able to suggest some ideas that might help them with some of the other issues that life presents. For example, they don’t cook for themselves and choose Continue reading

32. I’m worried that my grandson will say bad words at school.

KV, OR, writes: “I’m worried that my grandson will say bad words at school. I will be the one picking him up after school each day, and we’ve had some problems at home with his language.”

You are not the only one facing this issue. Dear reader: Is your soon-to-be kindergarten grandchild practicing his or her new vocabulary words? Has he (or she) discovered the power of words? That’s a good thing—right? Continue reading

31. Grandchildren: Their safety!

There are many things to worry about when it comes to our children and our grandchildren! Most recently, there have been vigorous campaigns against distractions while driving, and specifically targeting texting while driving. I sincerely hope these alarms are headed to. I don’t know how universal this is, but as a driver in New York City, I am also alarmed at the number of children and adults who step out into the Continue reading

30. My child has decided to have only one child

SP, OH, writes: My son and his wife have announced that they have decided to have only one child. I think being an only child is not the best experience for him or her in learning how to give and take and work out relationships in adulthood. I don’t want to create bad feelings but wonder if I should say something about my misgivings.

Deciding to have children is a momentous and personal decision for a couple, one that even they don’t grasp the extent of how their lives will change. But I would not say anything that could be seen as pressuring or critical. They are probably aware of the pros and cons of their decision (and sometimes “the best laid plans…”). Continue reading