Every Sunday, one of our daughters drops by our house with her two children, and we all prepare a large breakfast of scrambled eggs and chocolate chip pancakes together. It would be easy if we just made everything ourselves, and had it fully prepared when they arrived. However, my husband delights in the time he spends letting our 11 year old granddaughter help. She particularly loves to make the scrambled eggs, and has become quite adept at cracking the eggs on the edge of the skillet all by herself.
After breakfast, my husband often spends a little time teaching our 8 year old grandson how to carve and make things out of wood. On other occasions, we take the kids out fishing for the day. We've taught them how to sew on a button, and stitch together a simple seam. We've taught them how to play some of our favorite games, like Mexican train. We explore the tidepools at the beach looking for little crabs and starfish. We watch movies and television shows together.
We have other grandkids, as well, although they do not live close enough to see them every weekend. However, when they come to visit, we really enjoy spending time with them. Last summer, I was able to spend a day helping our two teenage granddaughters look at colleges. When our youngest grandson visits, it is delightful to watch him play at the beach.
When we spend time with our grandkids, we are able to use that quality time with them to do much more than pass on skills that we think they would enjoy. We are also able to teach them life lessons that we think are important. When they are rude, we gently tell them that there are better ways to ask for things. When they fight, we discuss other ways they could handle their disagreements. We try to reassure them when they are worried, and encourage them when they are shy. We try to attend school events and sporting events whenever possible, because they need to know that they have family support, whether they win or lose. These are the really valuable lessons that we want to teach our grandkids.
Our daughters are all wonderful mothers, but I think it helps them to have parents who reinforce their values and the lessons that they are passing on to their children. We always make sure our grandkids know that their parents are the ones who make the final decision on everything. We don't let them talk us into treats or activities that we know their parents wouldn't like.
The kids love to tease us and we let them, as long as the teasing is not mean-spirited. This morning, our 11 year old granddaughter was wearing a "scary" skeleton Halloween costume when they arrived for breakfast. She sneaked up to the kitchen window and peaked in, trying to "scare" us. It gave us all a good laugh. Perhaps being able to laugh at their youthful jokes is the best lesson of all!
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