Poppa’s Moment by Phil Larson

Cultures shift and shuffle over time. Technology shapes our views. Matter isn’t changing, we just see it differently. But culture isn’t matter. Culture is built of our perceptions and responses to what we see, hear, feel, and experience. Technology changes all those perceptions giving us faster, more intense, and more in-depth sensual interactions. Some further observations on this idea:

  • What we knew as pure truth as a child was only a piece of perception in light of scientific discovery and culture changes in response.
  • The good ol’ days are gone and the now days are here.
  • These days are less simple and seem to require more of our children and grandchildren.

How do we live our lives in response to this, and continue to be a guiding influence in uncertainties?

Don’t retreat from community. Get out there and be you.

Trends show that there will be an ever-increasing percentage of people over 65 compared to those under 65. We are becoming a great portion of the population. Let’s take the increase of aged wisdom and steer our culture a good direction. For the first time in human history, those over 65 outnumber children under age five, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. We are here and here is different. Get out there and be you.

Come on, Gramps, get out there and be you. Here are some suggestions to get you going:

Flex on Right Items

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
– Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister

When a grandchild picks a different response to culture than you would choose, take time to listen and understand. Maybe you would never get a tattoo, but in today’s expressive culture, it is not the oddity it used to be. Does it make a difference in character? Choose your battles and seek to listen. Understand and value the heart of your grandchild. You can overlook purple hair to see brilliant blue eyes lit with a heart of compassion.

You Stand for What You Tolerate

It’s not what you preach, but what you tolerate.
– Jocko Willink, Navy Seal and Leadership Speaker

Everything is not expedient or positive. As grandparents, we apply wisdom and experience to guide our children and grandchildren. Show a patient heart, but firm for right. You don’t need to apologize for living through changes our grandchildren have not experienced. Share how you learned from those changes. You’ve lived through riots and wars, economic downturns and uplifts, shortages and abundance, and a continual attempt at racial, gender, and other equities. You have perspective to contribute. You’ve seen the damage of dependence on drugs and alcohol, the devastation of temporary commitments in families, and the disaster of the pursuit of money and things. And you can share a different path. Come on, Gramps, get out there and be you.

Feeling feisty, yet? I hope so. Don’t be bitter. Be purposeful. Set a course your grandchildren can follow. Remember, you made your share of mistakes, but you’re still standing.

Communicate Timeless Values

The solutions to our problems are and always will be based upon universal, timeless, self-evident principles common to every enduring, prospering society throughout history.
– Stephen Covey, author and thought leader

Consider the good values given to you by your parents and grandparents. Work ethic resists entitlement. Showing how to mow the grass or weed a garden teaches care for property. Cooking a meal together communicates care for others and craftsmanship. Consider what values are important. Show calm in a conflict and teach peacefulness. Be intentional about values and actions that teach them.

Show Your Faith

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
– Micah 6:8 NLT

An increasing number of psychologists point to faith and hope as keys to mental and emotional health. According to study after study, faith is not an option, but a necessity for balanced living. Be strong and committed and consistent in your faith. Expose your grandchildren to your faith in action. Work a faith event outreach together. Help out in the kids’ ministry at your church. Change diapers in the nursery. Be where they are in the faith community.

Resist the urge to retreat from community. Get out there and be you. Dust off your character and values that were hard gotten through life and show them to your grandchildren and other children.

 

Phil Larson serves as the SW Director of Benefits and Conferences for Grandkids Matter and GrandparentBenefits.org. He and his wife, Dian, live in Oklahoma City and have four children of their own as well as many that call them mom and dad from the community. Three of those children are married, giving them a mix of six grandchildren of multi-racial background by both birth and adoption. You can contact him at 405.494.0637 or phil@grandparentbenefits.org.