Passing on the flame
My wife has two grown girls and one has two kids so that makes me a Grandparent. It feels strange to be one plus I have no kids of my own!
So as a grandparent, I've noticed that both of our grand kids are free of fear, neurosis, issues, mental problems and all the weird and bizarre stuff I grew up with. It makes me very proud and happy that our grand kids are NOT spiritually broken and emotionally crushed and humiliated in the way my generation raised many of their kids. Breaking a kids' spirit was some kind of Noble Goal back in my day and it actually thrills me to see un-intimidated, fearless yet spoiled kid out in public. I know that being spoiled is probably as bad as being crushed or neglected but I also believe a spoiled kid has better chances than a crushed kid.
But back to the grand kids. I find it a little difficult to relate to them even though they seem to like me so I just try to remember my own childhood and see if it gives me a clue how to relate to them. One of the girls is in her early 20s and the other is still a teen. Sometimes I drive the younger one to school when we baby sit while her mom is away.
At first it was awkward being in the car alone with her and I didn't know what to say or do. Then I remembered how crumby it was for adults to "pepper" me with stupid questions as a child, so I just stay quite and/or turn on the radio to her favorite station and I don't make critical comments about the music she likes or any kid's clothes, hair, etc. like my parents and grandparents did!
Somehow just remembering how it was for me as a kid helps a lot and I soon begin feeling like her friend instead an Authority Figure. She's a lot different than her older sister was but just as interesting and bright in her own way so I figured out a few ways to relate to her as a fun guy instead of an old bore!
I don't try to entertain her with jokes or long boring stories about "When I was your age!" and, when we pick her up from school, we always ask where she wants to go or do. Usually it's over to McDonald's and then home 'cos she has home work and is a dedicated student.
I wish we could see them more but their lives are pretty different than ours and there's a mileage distance too. It's just so gratifying to see them being OK and normal instead of all screwed up, alcoholic, on drugs, neurotic, emotionally damaged, etc. like it was back in my day! So I believe there is hope in and for the world if these kids are going to take over some day. Sure wish I had been brought up in these times! Oh well..........