How grandparents can answer the toughest questions

This week's Hammertime looks at how grandparents can offer important words of wisdom.

There is nothing more precious than our children and our grand-children, but as we get older it will always be a little more of a challenge for us to keep up with ‘their games’ and young adventures, as well as coming up with a quick answer for some of those really tough and sudden questions. We all love to have them over for special events and sleepovers and to share mom’s cooking and new photos, but when they surprise us with those ‘new generation opinions’, this is how we might answer them, with a big chuckle.

Well, let us sit back and think for just a moment, because we were born before…..television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen and fast food, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees, the pill, the computer and before man walked on the moon. When your grandma and I were growing up, there were no credit cards, laser beams and ball point pens, and man had not even invented pantyhose, air-conditioners, dishwashers and clothes dryers, and the laundry had to be hung up on a line in the back yard to dry. Way back then, we had never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters, yogurt or guys that wore earrings, and we were before gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, daycare centres and group therapy. All of us somehow managed to survive without Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and instant coffee, we thought that fast food was what people ate during lent, and if we helped with the chores and saved our meagre allowance, we could buy ice cream cones, a Pepsi, postage stamps, and flashy postcards, all for a nickel. It was during the roaring 50s and 60s that you could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could afford one because gas was 11 cents a gallon in an era where the minimum wage was 75 cents an hour in 1950 but would double by 1968.

Believe it or not, those of us who are now well into our retirement mode were always under the impression when we were kids that…grass was mowed, Coke was a cold drink, pot was something your mother cooked in, rock music was a lullaby, AIDS were the helpers in the principal’s office, chip meant a piece of wood, hardware was found in a hardware store and software wasn’t even a word. Most of the time we ate all our meals together at home and went to church on Sundays, where we were taught to follow the Ten Commandments, show good judgement and common sense, know the difference between right and wrong, and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions. For all of us, living in this great country was a privilege and serving our country was an honour, and until we reached the age of 25 we called everyone older than us ‘sir or madam’, respected the law, and hoped that we would be treated the same way when we finally became adults.

For all of us in our ‘golden years’, those countless memories of growing up together over a half century or more ago have been fabulous, where meaningful relationships survived and thrived among family, friends and community, and when your grandmother and I will never forget when we got married first and then vowed to live together forever, no matter what. Along the way and between the occasional parental ‘meltdowns’, we have somehow managed to adjust to so many new changes and challenges. Our sincere thanks to our cherished family generations, who have patiently helped us to figure out our new electric toys and put up with our ‘old fashioned’ habits and beliefs, while hopefully continuing to bless us with many more ‘little angels’ to be loved, pampered, and spoiled, in between naps. Just keep on enjoying the rest of summer until October, and have a great week, all of you.


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