Today is my grandmother’s birthday. And not just any grandmother — my Grammy Buffington, the one I was named after. She died 25 years ago, but she is so present in my memories that it doesn’t feel like nearly that long.
Grammy was one of the most gracious women I have ever met. She felt that there was already enough negativity and ugliness in the world, so we should each do our part to add sweetness and grace. She didn’t tolerate gossip, and by the time I was a teenager she had totally sworn off watching the nightly news or reading the paper. Her love story(ies) are the stuff of classic romance novels, and someday I will tackle writing about them. This is the way I first remember her, May 1952
If I read another article about how television damages our children’s way of thinking, I am literally going to scream. I mean, there is nothing wrong with watching an educational video with your grand child. Or am I wrong?
True, sitting your grand child in front of the TV so you can get the house done or chat with your friends online isn’t what this is about. Sure they want a bit of a break so they can do some personal things. Ok..ok this is what this article is about. I’ve read up on a few subjects and I think I have found an alternative way to appease both the parent and the child. I realize every generation after generation says the same thing: the younger generation is in a world of trouble. Yes. This is true as well. But as we help our children raise their children (in my case, they both live with me), I have to think like both a ‘grand parent’ and a ‘parent’ when Victoria is in my care. While my daughter is trying to spend quality time with her daughter before she goes to work or attends a class in college, I have to keep her mind occupied during my time with her.
I understand she is now 5 months old. Wow! Another month she will be half a year old! (But I digress.) I wish I had learn to do this when my daughter was her age. As many grandparents often do, I could kick myself in the seat of my pants when I think of all the things I feel like I ‘robbed’ my child when she was young. Thank (enter your deity here) I have been given the opportunity to rectify it through Victoria. I am not saying I was a neglectful mother. I was young and youthfulnessisn’t always a good thing.
My sister who teaches children before they start kindergarten (to prepare them for that big milestone) told me before Victoria was born that their brains are evolving on a daily basis. That is kind of a ‘no-brainer’. In so many words, I believe the great Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You learn something new everyday”. But how can she learn something new if I don’t help initiate her learning process? Stick her in front of a television? That definitely won’t do. If I did that, I would be robbing another generation in my family of critical thinking and I don’t think that is fair. Not fair to my daughter, my grand daughter or to the world.
Schedules and routines are two different things I have found. A sleep schedule or an eating schedule is what Victoria follows (although it is very hard to follow when she is teething.) Routines are wonderful. They aren’t ‘time-pressing’ and easy to follow. I have a routine set up for her as soon as her mother leaves for work that doesn’t involve the television. I don’t want to fall into that trap which I rely on the television screen to occupy her time. I want her to imagine, explore and ponder. Yes. I realize that she is still 5 months…True eventually she will become engaged in her saturday morning cartoons or watch YouTube videos (under strict guidance) but I want to prolong this as long as I can. There is nothing wrong with playing with puzzles or reading a book. Giving them the initiative to use hand-and-eye coordination opens up a lot of new avenues. Self-disciple is paramount in anyone’s life and showing them early will help with their future. They also can become re-programmed to eventually become good listeners, learners, strengthen their fine motor skills, problem-solving abilities, become more creative and help them find a way to have self-worth with a better sense of self.
As a grandparent, giving presents is what we live for, is it not? Giving the gift of ‘focusing’, ‘creative thought’ and cultivating it through the years is a present that is sure to develop self-assurance.