Rochelle Furstenberg, Co-ordinator of the Senior Center, wrote tips for grandparents taking grandchildren on vacation. She then took three granddaughters, Rinat, Efrat and Linda to Europe, and at the end of their touring Paris, Florence and Venice, she asked them to write the tips they would give to grandparents. Here they are:
1. Grandparents must realize that their areas of interest might be different than those of their grandchildren.
2. Children are not particularly interested in museums! It's true that museums are air-conditioned, but kids still prefer shopping and movies to Boticelli and Da Vinci.
In the drama, "Disciplining Grandchildren," Violet criticizes her daughter Arlene because of the way Bobby behaved during the party. Arlene defends herself and criticizes Violet. Arlene feels hurt and angry. They distance from one another.
One can only wonder whether these kids weren't ever bored. Didn't they ever act out, get fresh, gripe about the food or fight with their siblings? Today, grandchildren might not spend their vacations on the farm.
Everyone is seated around the table wearing party hats, eating cookies and ice-cream. There is a lot of laughter and noise. Wrapping paper from birthday gifts is all over the floor. The birthday cake is brought in with five candles and Bobbie blows them out while everyone sings: "Happy birthday." As his mother cuts the cake, Bobbie is jumping up and down on his chair, calling out: "Me first! Me first!
In the simplest ways, my grandmother mended my soul. She was the smartest person I knew. She read at least one book a day. I sat and read with her. She loved mysteries. So did I. She could answer all of the questions on Jeopardy. I thought that an old woman could know everything. She looked like an old lady. Old ladies knew how to dress then. They had special black, old lady, lace-up shoes, not the running shoes grandmas favor today. Sometimes she let me tie her shoes. In this way, I helped her. She had beautiful handwriting. Thirty years after her death I can remember her shopping list, composed in her ornate curves: beets, mixed vegetables, cottage cheese.
Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I am happy to say that I have three grandchildren; a granddaughter who is twelve, a grandson who is ten and one who is three. But I feel the wonderful things people always told me about being a grandparent might be a little exaggerated. I do enjoy watching them grow up. I'm curious about who they will become as human beings. But I can't claim that I have created a special relationship with them. They don't seem to feel particularly connected to my husband and myself, even though my children push them to be nice to us. The oldest ones are into their own friends, and the baby clings to his parents. I am disappointed, and even a little hurt.
Toby and Michael
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