MIXED MESSAGES AMONG GENERATIONS
While there is a genuine love and fondness between grandparents, parents and grandchildren, often communication is difficult because of the generation gap. As a grandmother, I know I'm somewhat dismayed as my grandkids get tattoed and I really don't understand how piercings in eyebrows, cheeks, nose and tongue can be considered attractive. Of course to my grandchildren I'm just old fashioned.
Unfortunately the "generation gap" extends to our verbal communication as well. I can remember when my grandchildren were taking a walk with grandpa... all barefooted. Grandpa turned to the oldest one and said, "Will you run back to the house and get my thongs?"
As all the grandchildren gasped, grandpa quickly figured out that his definition of "thong" or flip-flops as they are called today, is quite different from the extremely brief panties that our kids and grandkids refer to as thongs today.
Grandparents often share with their granchildren how they had to walk miles to school in the cold of winter, while the kids may be dealing with issues that far exceed anything their grandparents or parents could imagine.
To help overcome misunderstandings and to better relate to the challenges each generation faces/faced, your family might try this exercise... Now and Then.
Invite members of different generations to participate -- kids, parents and grandparents. Once you've gathered, have your group respond to the questions, one at a time. Remember to include the emotional element to your answers. By doing this each member will start to understand that along with being different, there are many similarities between the generations. For example, the feelings a person experiences when falling in love, or losing a loved one.
NOW & THEN
- I love(d)/hate(d) being a teenager because ....
- My life is (was) stressful because ...
- My parents don't (didn't) understand that ...
- School is (was) ...
- Some of my friends are (were) ....
- My best friend is (was) ...
- I want(ed) to be ...
- I want(ed to go ...
- I would like (wanted) to buy ...
- My favorite thing to do is (was) ...
- My favorite movie is (was) ...
- A person I admire(d) is (was) ....
- My mom is (was) ...
- My dad is (was) ...
- My brothers and sisters are (were) ...
- I hate(d) doing ...
- I hate(d) going ....
- Life would be (have been) easier if ...
- My goals are (were) to ...
- If I could (have) change(d) one thing, it would be (have been) ...
Many of the questions are vague creating an opportunity to ask questions of each person. Be interested .... and non-judgement.
This exercise can create a bond, a real understanding between generations that will help members to appreciate and better understand the challenges faced by each.
THE BEST MARRIAGE ADVICE EVER!!
Choose to love each other even in those moments when you struggle to like each other. Love is a commitment, not a feeling.
Always answer the phone when your husband/wife is calling and when possible, try to keep your phone off when youвЂ™re together with your spouse.
Make time together a priority. Budget for a consistent date night. Time is the вЂњcurrency of relationshipsвЂќ so consistently invest time into your marriage.
Surround yourself with friends who will strengthen your marriage and remove yourself from people who may tempt you to compromise your character.
Make laughter the soundtrack of your marriage. Share moments of joy, and even in the hard times, find reasons to laugh.
In every argument, remember that there wonвЂ™t be a вЂњwinnerвЂќ and a вЂњloser.вЂќ You are partners in everything so youвЂ™ll either win together or lose together. Work together to find a solution.
Remember that a strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time. ItвЂ™s usually a husband and wife taking turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak.Prioritize what happens in the bedroom. It takes more than sex to build a strong marriage, but itвЂ™s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it!
Remember that marriage isnвЂ™t 50-50, divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. ItвЂ™s not splitting everything in half, but both partners giving everything theyвЂ™ve got!
Give your best to each other, not your leftovers after youвЂ™ve given your best to everyone else.
Learn from other people, but donвЂ™t feel the need to compare your life or your marriage to anyone elseвЂ™s. GodвЂ™s plan for your life is masterfully unique!
DonвЂ™t put your marriage on hold while youвЂ™re raising your kids or else youвЂ™ll end up with an empty nest and an empty marriage.
Never keep secrets from each other. Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy.
Never lie to each other. Lies break trust and trust is the foundation of a strong marriage.
When youвЂ™ve made a mistake, admit it and humbly seek forgiveness. You should be quick to say, вЂњI was wrong. IвЂ™m sorry. Please forgive me.вЂќ
When your husband/wife breaks your trust, give them your forgiveness instantly which will promote healing and create the opportunity for trust to be rebuilt. You should be quick to say, вЂњI love you. I forgive you. LetвЂ™s move forward.вЂќ
Be patient with each other. Your spouse is always more important that your schedule.
Model the kind of marriage that will make your sons want to grow up to be good husbands and your daughters want to grow up to be good wives.
Learn from other people, but donвЂ™t feel the need to compare your life or your marriage to anyone Else. GodвЂ™s plan for your life is masterfully unique!
Never talk badly about your spouse to other people or vent about them online. Protect your spouse at all times and in all places.
Always wear your wedding ring. It will remind you that youвЂ™re always connected to your spouse and it will remind the rest of the world that youвЂ™re off limits!
Connect into a community of faith. A good church can make a world of difference in your marriage and family.
Pray together. Every marriage is stronger with God in the middle of it.
When you have to choose between saying nothing or saying something mean to your spouse, say nothing every time!
Never consider divorce as an option. Remember that a вЂњperfect marriageвЂќ is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each .
YOUR LEGACY IS YOUR LIFE
Forty years ago my mom and dad became snowbirds, abiding in Yuma, Arizona for six months of the year in an effort to avoid the cold, snowy Idaho winters. After my dad passed away, I insisted on accompanying my mother on her annual journey as a safety measure вЂ“ after all a woman shouldnвЂ™t be driving that distance by herself.
Little did I know that I would come to value those yearly treks as we talked almost the entire distance of nearly 900 miles, enjoying our one-on-one time. I learned so much about her and her early life; yet knowing I would forget some of the stories, I encouraged her to write them down.
Six years ago, when my mother passed away, I found a folder filled with life stories she had written вЂ¦ some she had shared with me and others were new. As I read them, some made me laugh, others made me cry and all gave me a better understanding of who she was as a person. I soon realized that these stories were my motherвЂ™s legacy.
As I shared with friends the treasures I had inherited in these stories, all could relate. Some said they wish their parents or grandparents had written their life stories, some said their parents had and they were so glad they did, while others admitted they really needed to start writing their own memories.
Some people have commented, вЂњWho would want to read about my life? ItвЂ™s so boring.вЂќ To them I respond, вЂњThatвЂ™s just not true. Everyone has a story to tell!вЂќ
If you donвЂ™t think your life is interesting, consider these questions:
- What changes have occurred throughout your lifetime? (technology, travel, cost of goods, education, social behavior)
- What difficulties have you experienced and what lessons did you learn from them? (Sharing the lessons we learned will help our children and grandchildren better face their own challenges.)
- Who are some of the people or events that have influenced your life? In what way?
- What are some of the values and beliefs you cherish and would like to pass on to your posterity? Why?
If these questions donвЂ™t convince you that your life is of interest to others or that you have an important message to share, then ask yourself, вЂњIf I had a chance to talk with a deceased relative about his or her life, would I want to?вЂќ I think most of us would. I wish I had asked my grandfather who passed away at the age of 93 about his experiences as a missionary, requiring him to leave behind a wife and three young children. I wish I could talk with my dad about his wartime memories. I wonder what my great-grandmotherвЂ™s life was like as a polygamistвЂ™s wife.
Just as you have a thirst to learn more about your ancestors, your posterity will want to know about you and the life you have lived. Legacy writing provides a bond between generations, a rope to guide us through the difficulties that life may deal us, and a thread interwoven into our DNA that helps us to better understand who we are.
Start today to capture your memories for your posterity. Remember, вЂњYour legacy is more than the fame or fortune you may have acquired, it is the life you have lived.вЂќ
Music Evokes Memories
Do you associate a certain song with a memory? Often music captures our emotions and for years to come we're reminded of a certain person or a special event. Of course, some songs may conjure up memories of a loss you suffered or difficulties faced.
For example, in 1968 Marky Hopkin's song, Those Were the Days came out. For me this was a time of new experiences. I had just gotten married and was ready to start a family. Leaving my parents home to start my new life gave me a feeling of freedom. In 1985 Stevie Wonder's hit, I Just Called to Say I Love You, was popular. At that time I was having marital problems and since then every time I hear that song it gives me a melancholy feeling.
Writing With Emotion
Music enters through our ears, penetrates our hearts and exits through our emotions. Music evokes memories. When writing your story about a certain period of your life -- adolescence, young adulthood, mid-life -- make a list of songs you listened to during that time and write about the memories associated with them.
Another way to capture memories is to play music from a certain era. If you are a Pandora user, you can just enter singer, song or year and it will create a station from that period. When listening to the music,В you willВ find that memories start to surface. Write them down and include the emotion you felt at that time.
Enjoy your journey into music past.
What's one of the best way to share with your children and grandchildren who you are as a person?
Share you opinion on topics of importance to you. Here's something I wrote to share with my family.
MY OPINION ABOUT OPINIONS
With an election leering around the corner, political opinions are rising to a crescendo. I find it interesting, and maybe a little irritating, to watch as Republican candidates bash Hillary and Democrats smugly think their candidate is a shoo-in. This year, it seems that everyone has picked a side and are adamant that theirs is the RIGHT one! And if you don't agree, you are WRONG! Candidate bashing has gone to a new and unhealthy level, yet it's all a matter of opinion.
Opinions are an interesting thing in of themselves. We're told to avoid topics such as politics and religion because most people will furiously defend their views on these topics, and if you want to keep your friends and not alienate family members then don't talk about these things. However, there are a lot of other topics that people take a stance on that maybe should be avoided.... or not.
For example, grandparents giving parenting advice to their children. A friend recently told me she did this and was told by her daughter, "I'm the parent!" I can remember telling my dad the same thing. Shouldn't years of experience give grandparents the right to express their opinions? As a grandparent, I like to think so. As a young mother .... probably not. Parenting is a tough job, probably the toughest a person will ever do, and no one is an expert. As parents we make our mistakes and we have to live with them.... sometimes until those mistakes are well into their 40s or beyond. As grandparents we have lived and we have learned and, well, we raised them and they turned out okay so maybe that gives us the right to share our opinion.... Right?
As for sharing my opinions with my grandchildren, I'm sure they would rather I didn't... especially on the topic of tattoos. I raised my children to believe it was a sin to write on themselves. If they came home from school with ink on their arms, they were immediately sent to the washroom to scrub, scrub and scrub some more until all traces were removed. I taught them that paper was to draw on... not your body! However, kids now-a-days are having permanent pictures inked all over themselves. In my opinion that is stupid, in their opinion it is art. I question as to whether their taste in art has changed over the years and to consider that someday they may not like the decorations on their bodies. However, they are convinced I'm just old fashioned... maybe I am. But I still believe that someday they will regret it... ummm, that's just my opinion.
When I was a teenager, pierced ears became the style. Parents were totally against us making our ears into permanent earring holders. At church we were warned against it. So instead of having it professionally done, we put ice on our ears and when they were numb enough, jabbed a darning needle through them. In my opinion, my parents were old fashioned. In their opinion, I was stupid.
On a more serious note is the topic of abortion. I think most people have an opinion on this topic. I have friends who have had abortions. Apparently I don't believe in them because I have 7 children. I don't like the thought of a developing fetus being aborted, but then again I don't like the thought of an 11 year-old girl who has been raped being forced to have a child. There are many sides to look at when forming an opinion.
As 4.1 million Syrian refugees flee from a deadly regime, the rest of the world is faced with the decision of letting them into their countries, or not. Turkey and Lebanon have taken in well over 1 million each. To date Canada has welcomed 25,000 refugees and is committed to admitting another 32,000 by the end of 2016 (1), while the United States has pledged to host 10,000 by the end of 2016 (2). As of 2015, the United States had given the largest share of financial aid, $601 million or 33% of the total given ... and a lot of people will have something to say about that.(3)
Now most people have an opinion as to whether any refugees should be allowed to enter our countries... after all aren't we opening the door for terrorists to come in?В Aren't Syrian's the enemy? Yet if we look individually at the families that are fleeing, we see parents who are terrified that they and their children will be killed. As parents, I'm not sure any of us would be any different if our families faced a similar threat. It seems that when we look at things from a satellite perspective, we fail to acknowledge the humanity of each person involved. Of course, that's just my opinion.
On every topic we will find people with opinions different from ours. It's what makes us unique. I think the saddest thing would be to never develop an opinion on anything, and like sheep just go with the herd... or the most boisterous. Sometimes it may be better to keep our opinions to ourselves. However, when sharing our opinions, it's important to listen to and respect the opinions of others. Just remember, it's our opinions that make us USвЂ¦ and thatвЂ™s just my opinion.
Sharing your opinions and passions with your posterity will help them to better understand who you are and what you believe. Take the time today to share your thoughts.