I do have one son who asks probing questions over family dinners like “What have you learned lately, Mom?” But most children and grandchildren are too busy with their own activities and electronic gadgets to spend any time asking or listening to your views on life’s mysteries. So how do you reach them? Use those electronic gadgets, play their own game. Get their help to make a blog or webpage where you can share your views or join Facebook and comment on their remarks. Be interested in their lives and what is important to them.
Make opportunities to unplug them. I suggest an outing together like a grandchild date or activity to get each of them alone, so you can focus on communicating better. Listening sends such value in our busy world. Let them talk, and ask questions. When that teaching moment comes and it will, give your opinion and any advice that will help them. I’m not asking you to parent them but to co-parent them with the cooperation of your own children. My son and dg-in-law have daddy or mommy dates with each child frequently where they can have that important “one on one” time. Why not grandparent-child or aunt/uncle-child dates? (Below-many generations-grandma, mom and nana or great grandma.)
If you live some distance away from your family, use the computer to communicate or write letters. Phone or visit somehow, you’ll be glad you did. Our grandchildren (and children) are in great need of the wisdom we gained the old fashioned way through “the school of hard knocks.” They have many preconceived ideas about the world we live in that a little chat can help them clarify what’s true. But first you need to analyze what it is you’ve learned from living your life that you’d like to share with your loved ones. That will be the topic for this column in the New Year: figuring out how to leave a legacy for your family. It’s time to write down your life story, if you haven’t.