What should your Grandchildren know about you

What? You didn’t have a Wii or a computer as a kid?  How did your mother wash clothes with a washing machine? Yes, grandparents are living records of family history that should be shared with grandchildren. A relationship between grandparent and grandchild is special in that they share genuine and unconditional love. Because they both have time, they can chat with each other, sharing stories and interests. Decades after the passing of a grandparent, their grandchildren will recall their sayings, old wives’ tales, stories, as well as the games they taught, lessons learned and the love that permeated between them. Funny thing is that the grandparent doesn’t have to be a blood relative in order to make a difference in the life of a child. In this transient society, many grandparents “adopt” grandchildren and vise verse.

Decades from now your grandchildren will wish they had thought to ask about how you lived as a kid. What was your school like? What did you enjoy doing for fun? Were your friends nearby? What were some family traditions that you enjoyed or hated? Did you attend church and what do you remember? How did your family spend weekends? Did you have chores? The questions are endless.

Perhaps the best approach is to work on a project side-by-side with the child. As you’re, for example, building a creation with blocks, talk about how you played as a youngster. Interject here and there a, “Did you know that when I was a kid, there were no telephones at home?” Such questions are certain to take the child by surprise and generate more questions and discussion. This is an entertaining way to teach while playing. Stories will stay with them because it is not like learning in school. They have a real live person, who lived the experiences, that is telling the story. This is far more interesting than reading it in a book.

Kids love to hear stories about their parents, especially when they were naughty. Therefore, it is important to share not only the naughty task but the learned lesson. Through inquiring as to whether or not the child had ever attempted such a wrongdoing, you’ll learn more about the child and have a better idea as to what direction to take with further relaying happenings of times past.

Nobody can tell family history like a grandparent. They lived in a time that is beyond the comprehension of their grandchildren, since life has progressed at such a tremendously rapid pace that their experiences will appear to be fictional. However, grandparents have photos and mementos to prove their existence. Even walks through a museum, such as the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, can provide hands-on experience and credence. For it is there that a child can pretend to work at a radio station, operate a camera for a television studio, dress-up as grandparents did decades ago by selecting items from an attic trunk, experience churning butter, wash clothes with a scrubbing board or pump water from a well. Then they can travel to the floors where aisles of toys are displayed from the past few centuries. The Howdy Doody puppet, Tinker Toys, Cupie dolls, Daniel Boone raccoon hat and thousands of other toys can be viewed as grandparents tell their tales of “the olden days.”

Now, should your grandchildren live a distance away or in another country, you can be creative with your means of sharing your memories. Letter writing and photos are the traditional means. In this day of technology, you can have video cam conversations or prepare a clever video or dvd, both of which will preserve your history for your grandchildren. Any books, toys, clothing, letters or other memorabilia from your past that you share will add to the meanings of your words. Yes, your sharings will be treasured in the future if they don’t seem to hold much meaning at the time you present them. It is a way to be sure that you will never be forgotten by your grandchildren, and they will in turn pass it along to their grandchildren.