Monday, October 11, 2010

The Old Sage

I don't have all the answers. Maybe the greying hair is misleading, but I do not have all the answers. Perhaps I have said a few wise things that might have lead the girls to think I have the answers. Maybe it has to do with listening. But let it be known that I do NOT have all the answers.

Sydney brings home her homework. English and biology were my strong courses. Math was a nightmare. As soon as she walks through the door, my stomach aches. "Oh God, please don't let there be math homework." However, my daily prayer is rarely answered. This all started a few years ago when I discovered that math was no longer taught the same as when I was young or when their parents were young.

"Do you know how to do long division," I asked.

"What's that?" Syd replied with a scrunched up look on her face.

I don't know everything. I don't have the answers to fit all of the questions that grandchildren ask. However, I have found this to be to my advantage.

"How do you do your division now?" I ask. She explains to her Grammy. Dialogue takes place. If we can't find answers, we investigate. Not being a genius is a great way to connect.

Some of the big questions my girls ask lead to conversations about how the day went at school, what worries they are carrying around, what concerns they have for themselves and friends. Sometimes I ask simple questions requesting advice from my girls just to get them to open up or to feel like they can help me, that their thoughts are important.

Maybe I'm smarter than I think. Maybe instead of doing homework, we are doing home work. We are finding out that as a team we can solve problem and trust one another.

I didn't have this option as a child. My sisters and I were pretty much left to our own devise. We learned as many kids do 'by the seat of our pants'. I know what I had missed and want more for my grandchildren. I knew the mistakes I made with my own children and want more for for the generations that follow.

Often a silent child opens up when we show that we are vulnerable as well. Sometimes our childhood experiences hit home with a child unable to express a feeling. It's not easy reading a child, knowing what they need. Sometimes we get in the way of a clear view of the child. Sometimes 'no' words is better than prodding and insistence. Sometimes just being a grandparent is enough.

We are an oasis for a child. We are the people, the place where they can be free to express, free to be themselves. We are the grandparents with a big responsibility.....a responsibility to just be there.

I will never be a wise, old sage. More likely someone old sitting on a clump of sage. - me

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