FRIDAY, APRIL 13: I had the privilege of having both my maternal grandparents in my life as I grew up and for a good portion of my very young years, I had my maternal great grandmother and my paternal grandfather.
The lessons I learned from them all as I’ve grown to adulthood have been more valuable than any text book would ever have been able to teach; lessons that have been forever etched in my moral fibre.
My mother, in particular, who learned from her parents, instilled in my sister and me that which she learned and I can attest to the fact that we now instill the same in our own children. Our hope and prayer is that they, too, will carry the ancestral baton on to their own offspring when they become parents.
Grandparents played a vital role in the lives of youth when we were little.
I recall that just about all my friends not only had them, but had a very good relationship with them. When mom or dad had to work or attend a meeting grandparents cared for us. We were never left at home alone.
If we were lucky enough to live in the same household as our grandparents, as I was, we recall that the house was always kept clean and the delicious homemade meals were always in abundance — with extras just in case we had unexpected guests.
My grandmother worked at the Harmony Hall for a time and I remember going with her to work where I learned how to make a bed properly — and the same level of meticulous care of my bed was expected from me at home.
The grandparent from ‘back in the day’, when compared to the grandparent of today, seemed older. But then again, through the eyes of a child, perhaps they just looked older.
I remember as a child thinking that the age of 40 was considered quite old. As an adult I certainly do beg to differ!
Grandparents of long ago seemed to spend more time in the home with their grandchildren but that may well be due to the current state of economic times that forces today’s grandparents to have to work extra and over time.
Even as a child, I remember my grandparents’ outings were to friends’ homes or to weddings and funerals. While my grandparents were the age I am now when I was a child, I don’t ever recall any of my grandparents hanging out in a club!
In 2012, while there are many nurturing grandparents who still hold on to those old fashioned values, there seems to also be a ‘new breed’ of grandparent — younger in age and mentality — who spoils the grandchildren with material possessions, trips, and the like, rather than spending the quality time to instill good ethics for future success. Could this be part of the breakdown in the community which is often spoken about in some circles?
I saw a sticker one day that read, ‘If I’d had known grandchildren were so much fun, I would have had them first’. Does this speak to the joys that grandparents feel in spending time with their grandchildren that perhaps they did not necessarily experience in raising their own children?
What is it about being a grandparent that adults find exciting or challenging?
What are the youth of today learning from their grandparents and what role do grandparents play in the rearing of their grandchildren today compared to the grandparents of long ago? Are grandparents today overburdened with responsibilities which should be those of their own children?
On Monday, April 16, join me on Generations as we talk about the role of grandparents. I encourage all youth to send me an email to tell me about the role their grandparent plays in their lives.
• Shawnette Somner is the host of Generations, which airs on DeFontes’ Broadcasting Company’s MIX106 FM 7.30pm-9pm every Monday. Call in live during the show on 295-1061. Send comments and show ideas to the new e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org