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.
Happy New Year and Happy birthday to me .... I think.
Yes, while I'm pleased to be entering another year, I'm still trying to decide if turning another year older is a happy time. My birthday is the day after New Years, January 2nd, and it's been one of those days that I always wished wasn't my birth day.
After all the holiday celebrations -- Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years -- and associated parties, everyone is pretty much sick of celebrating. It's the day when things finally get back to normal. Parents go back to work, children are back in school... and it's my birthday. No one wants one more celebration, not even me.
Lamenting about the day I was born, my dad always said I was born two days too late to be used as a tax deduction for the previous year and one day too late for getting all the "first baby of the new year" prizes. Guess that makes me a day late and a dollar short рџ™‚
As a child I always felt as though my parents had saved one of my Christmas gifts to give me for my birthday. Now I realize that was silly. Why would they save a gift they bought before Christmas when they could go to the store and take advantage of the end of year sales.
As a young adult, I found people could easily forget my birthday. It was that getting back to work and "no more celebrating" syndrome. However, my mother always remembered. And the arrival of her birthday card via USPS was a quick reminder to my husband who had failed to say "Happy Birthday!" during the previous 8 hours. Needless to say, the next 8 hours were spent trying to make up for his forgetfulness.
Older now, I tend to look at the positive side of things. I'm conditioned to not make a big deal of my birthday and too much attention actually makes me uncomfortable. However, each birthday I enjoy I like to count the blessings I've experienced over the year. It seems like I'm always adding a beautiful new grandchild or great-grandchild during the year and usually score a nice vacation. But even more, I am thankful for the good health my family has enjoyed and the beautiful world we live in. God has been very generous to me and my family, and I've been blessed with a multitude of wonderful friends and neighbors.
Reflecting on all the good things in my life, how could it be anything but a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!"
NOTE: Write your life stories. What was your most memorable birthday?
"Not everyone will make it to your future. Some people are just passing through to teach you lessons in life."
Reading this quote, I began reminiscing about the people in my past who have influenced me for the good and have added value to my life. Some have since passed away, while others are alive but live a distance away. Some I connect with on a yearly basis, while others I have lost all connection to. All have helped me become the person I am today and for that I am grateful. While the following list is not inclusive, I do want to pay tribute to these people and the others who have been a positive influence on me.
My mom and dad. Both are deceased but their influence will go on for generations. My dad didn't graduate from high school, but I thought he was the smartest man alive. He was a hard workers and good provider. He told me I could become anything I wanted and I believed him. My mother was very creative and an artist. I can never remember her talking bad about anyone. She was a true Christian. Both enjoyed outdoor activities and were excellent gardeners.
Irene... I started college when I was 37-years-old. In the sea of young students, I met a really great friend, Irene. We both were juggling homework with raising kids (she had three and I had six) she helped me find the time to laugh and enjoy our college experience.
Sharie is a friend who has always been there for me when times are hard. She showed up to help me out when my mother had her stroke. She was the one person who was there for me when I went through a divorce. We may not talk often and see each other even less, but I will always love and appreciate her.
Sydney is someone who seems like more of a sister to me than a friend. She and I have known and worked together for years and have had such fun times together... and arguments, just like sisters. However, she has always had my back. She is a perfectionist while I'm not. I appreciate her attention to detail.. although sometimes she really bugs me рџ™‚ Although we don't see each other often (it's been years) she will always have a special place in my heart.
I worked with Scott and when I decided I was going to college, he took me under his wing toВ show me around campus and to help me get registered. He was such a great friend to my kids and me and I miss him.
As a young married couple, my now ex husband, Dan, taught me that I could do anything. We built and remodeled houses and he involved me with almost every aspect of construction. Although I was afraid of heights, he had me on the roof putting shingles on. When I said I didn't have the strength to lift a heavy beam up to the ceiling, he showed me how to do it. I appreciate him giving me the confidence to try everything.
As a struggling single mom, I managed to buy a house with only three finished bedrooms (I had six children living with me). One day I got a call from a contractor telling me he was going to finish my two, downstairs bedrooms. He said a friend of mine had hired him to do it but wouldn't tell me his name. I later found out who it was and still, to this day, appreciate this kind gesture.
Job hunting as a newly divorced mom was difficult. That's why I was so appreciative when Don gave me a job in his dairy. I learned how to homogenize, pasteurize, and bottle milk and then ran the small store when I was done. Along with a paycheck, this kind man and his wife Mary gave me a half beef, milkВ and baked goodies to help me out. I will always remember how Don would come into the story and bag up some bread, eggs and milk. He would hold his finger to his lips saying, "Shhhhh, don't tell." He would then leave the groceries on the doorstep of a widow. He taught me that the best acts of kindness are done with no thought to the praise you receive. Don passed away last year and I'm sure he is getting his reward now.
This just touches on some of the people who have had an impact on my life. There are so many more that I need to include when writing my memories.
Who are some of the people who have influenced or supported you in your life? I hope you take the time to write about them.
Christmas is almost here. It's a time for reflection as we remember past holidays and the traditions shared. Are you building memories for your children that will last a lifetime?В Some of the longest-lasting memories your children will carry with them are your family traditions. Those memories will outlast any of the toys, games and other material possessions you might buy them. Start now to bring back family traditions you enjoyed as a child and to create your own.
HereвЂ™s a few weвЂ™ve done or others have shared with us:
When we lived in Wyoming we didnвЂ™t have a lot of money and, even if we did, there werenвЂ™t many stores. Therefore, many of the presents we gave our children were handmade by their father or me. I would sew pajamas or make stuffed toys for them, he would build cradles for the girls or wooden guns for the boys. They loved them.
In an effort to keep вЂњChristвЂќ in Christmas, we held a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas eve. We always told the story of the first Christmas and sang Christmas Carols. Then we ended the evening singing Happy Birthday to Jesus around a birthday cake complete with candles.
I remember one Christmas our six children presented us with a live production of the Christmas story with all of them participating, right down to the very youngest. Now THAT was a wonderful Christmas memory!
A friend who had lived in Germany when her children were young told me how they adopted the German tradition of putting their shoes on the outside step for St. Nicholas to fill with candy. After moving back to the states, they continued the tradition. To this day, her children do this for their children.
Another friend told me how their Christmas eve tradition was to sing Christmas Carols at the local nursing home. Not only did it teach their children compassion for others, but also drew them closer together as a family.
What are your traditions? If you havenвЂ™t yet created any, start now. Make this your year for creating family traditions that will build memories that will last a lifetime. Please send us some of your traditions so we can include them in a future blog.
EMAIL YOUR TRADITIONS
Encourage your parents and grandparents to share their memories before it's too late.
My mother's mother passed away when my mother was only 10 (1935). As she became a teenager, she often found her father did not understand nor relate to the needs ofВ a teenage girl. This is a true story she wrote about her Christmas when she was 14. I find it very touching.
WHITE BOOTS FOR CHRISTMAS
It had been a very pleasant Thanksgiving. Dad and I had gone to visit his sister and family and being 14, I was somewhat overwhelmed at being escorted to the movie by twin cousins (boys). I had also enjoyed visiting with my cousin nearby. Glenna was a little older than me and because she was raised in town she seemed very sophisticated. She even had a job as an elevator girl in one of the large business buildings.
I met her downtown one evening to go shopping. She purchased a pair of pretty white overboots. Now I had never seen any kind of boots other than the brown galoshes with snaps. These were so pretty.
On the way back to the farm I mentioned to Dad how one snap was broken on my galoshes and there was a small tear on the back. I asked if he didn't think I should have some new ones. I told him I really liked the white boots Glenna had bought.
One morning Dad took my show size and I gentlyВ reminded him that I really wanted white boots. I could hardly wait for Christmas. On ChristmasВ Eve I went to bed thinking of the white boots I would be able to wear to school.
Excited, I got up early the next morning while it was still dark. On the table was a box tied with white string. I tore open the box and slipped back the tissue paper and there they were ... ugly black books with buckles - boy boots. В How could that be! I could never wear them! I wouldn't wear them!!! I ran back to my room, throwing myself on the bed and cried.
I heard Dad get up and stir the fire. He fixed his cup of Postum while I stayed in my bed.
"Bobbie, it's time to get up," heВ called. Still I couldn't get up.
"Bobbie, I'm going out to do the chores so get up." he said. I got up, put on my robe and went to the kitchen.
"How could you get those things for me," I whined, pointing at the ugly black galoshes. "I can't wear those to school."
"Those?" he asked. "Those are mine." (Dad did have a little foot.)
Reaching for a box under a stack of groceries on the chair, he said, "These are yours."
I opened the box and there they were ... White Boots.
I was so happy that my Dad had actually bought me the ones I wanted, that he had actually listened to me. Now, while the other girls at school had their brown galoshes, I proudly wore my white boots.
As I've grown older, I still remember how important those white boots were to me. Silly? Perhaps. But every girl needs white boots sometime in her life. ###
I'm so glad my mother wrote this story down. It helps me to better understand and relate toВ her emotions at that tender age. Emotions that most teenage girls, including me, have felt.
Take the time to write your Christmas story. Email it to me ifВ you'd like me to includeВ it in a future blog.
Do you have brothers, or are you one? Then you know what I'm talking about. Brothers have a built in mechanism for teasing and tormenting. My mother said it started when I was around 6 months old and learning how to sit up. Every time I did, my brothers would tip me over. No wonder I'm so persistent today.
Here's a little something I wrote about brothers:
Brothers are Bothers
My brothers gave me a headache. Every time I played softball with my brothers, I got hit in the head with the ball. Was this just a coincidence?
My brothers used me as a guinea pig. On a windy day, they put a sail made from a sheet on the wagon, then put me in it. The wind whisked me away and I had traveled almost a mile before they were able to catch up with me.
My brothers were boys through and through. They shot arrows through my doll's head, chased me with snakes and took me with them to swipe apples off the neighbor's tree... at midnight.
At a very young age, I determined that my brothers must love me a lot to give me all that attention. If they didn't love me, they would have ignored me. That's my rationalization that helped me survive three brothers.
What are some of your early childhood memories about your brothers or sisters?No siblings? Then write about a cousin or close friend. We'd love to read your experiences. Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.