Grandparents Get Involved
- Ideas for Grandparents
Think a Story
from A Grandpa's Notebook
by Meyer Moldeven
If you can think a story, and
if you can write a letter or express your
thoughts orally or visually, then you can combine
them into a message to
a grandchild. The more often you do it, the easier
it becomes. If the
mechanics of writing or drawing is the problem,
then audiotape. The
point is to interact and communicate with a grandchild
so that the
youngster knows of your caring, and that caring
is normal. Grandchild
will readily grasp that Grandma or Grandpa wants
to share, and that
sharing is fine.
The type of communication most desired by my grandchildren
fifth or sixth years, and under the circumstances
of the distance between
us, was the letter-story. The written stories evolved
out of our infrequent
family get-togethers. Occasionally, an idea for
a story called for follow-
up negotiations over the telephone to clarify plots,
scenes, and characters.
My grandchildren liked the stories, and both they
and I enjoyed the
discussions that preceded the writing. The give-and-take
imaginations and creativity, and often provided
me with opportunities to
pass along family history.
Todays youngsters know more about the world than
previous generations, one of the many benefits
of our expanding
telecommunication capabilities and greater education
opportunities. Youngsters get their view of the
world from what they
see, hear, and learn from and about their families.
Letter stories, anecdotes and lore give grandchildren
a better view of their
grandparents, and about what older adults believe.
The process, if
positive oriented, contributes toward the grandchilds
maturity, and offers
them encouragement, values, models, and incentives.
There are tens of thousands of homes across the
land where treasured
possessions, tangible and otherwise, were created
or acquired by the
occupants or their forebears. You have them in
your home as I do in
mine. In time, those possessions: properties and
artifacts, along with
their histories, will move along to your children
and grandchildren. In
every culture, grandpa and grandma stories, along
with mom and dad
stories, are part of that inheritance.
When youngsters know that Grandpa or Grandma wrote
expressly for them, that more than qualifies the
story for the special
collection of treasures to be shared with close
friends, presented at
school as a show-and-tell, and eventually absorbed
into the treasured
memorabilia of childhood.
Are you groping for words to open a story? Here
are a few starters:
- My future might have been
prophesied from these events...
- Let me tell you about...
- Here, get under the shawl
with me and listen to this hair-raising story.
It was a wild and woolly...
- During my early years...
- Long ago and far away...
(still an all-time favorite)
- Once upon a time... (another
- I am uncertain about what
my memory truly recalls of these events but
there I was...
- I was about 8 years old when
this happened. One morning...
- My older brother/sister had
a tendency to. and this once caused...
- As children, we often...
- I am reminded of the time...
-There was a particular kind
-If only I could have...
-One day I was watching...
-It was in the Fall
-I particularly recall...
-The toys I remember...
the dark of night, when the wind howls through
the eaves, I think back to the time
-'Twas a dark and stormy night...
(another Old Faithful)
Grandchild and grandparent know they enjoy being
storytelling is part of the fun; also, grandchildren
know that grandmas
and grandpas usually have fascinating memories
of their childhood and
about what happened to the family over the years.
to enter this little bit of grandma and grandpa's
grandparents see the world through a grandchild's
the anticipation generated by a familiar opening
phrase or sentence to set
the stage works well for both storyteller and listener.
Grandparent-grandchild interaction is more than
a custom; it is a deep
and powerful bond. By its very nature, the alliance
is biological and
cultural, and molded by trial-and-error through
the hazards of millennia.
It is an alliance not to be treated casually; it
demands nourishment, and
storytelling by a family's elders is an essential