Friday, May 17, 2013

The Grandma Factor

What is it with grandmas? They seem to have endless patience, an ability to play games and read books forever, and be genuinely delighted by the paint on the wall, milk spills, and conversations about any such thing as the child is interested in. What is it about grandmas?

I have heard a few people, some close to me, relate how their grandmothers were influential in their formative years. Offering love and support in ways that seemingly escape parents and have real impact in the lives of young people. In all but one account it was mentioned how grandma would play games for hours.

Could it be perhaps that this game playing was a platform of sorts? A stage on which to build a relationship without time constraints, outside distraction and interference, and with a common goal. Possibly most important might be the absence of hundreds of ever-changing rules. Games are simple, even the most complex of them. Concrete rules that don't change on a dime to suit someone's emotions or situations. You can learn the rules and refer to them whenever needed, making sure to abide by them and perfect your strategy. Simply satisfying.

Yes, life is complicated. But grandmas seem to know something that we whippersnappers don't. They seem to understand that it really is about time. Time to get to know a person without so many rules. Children are people too. People just want to be understood and known for who they are, not who we think they should be or need them to be.

Perhaps those that have done what we are trying to do know something. Perhaps they see what we are too busy to understand. Maybe if we slow down and trust that our children will indeed eventually change their underwear daily without reminder, and be able to brush their teeth without smearing an entire tube of toothpaste across the bathroom, maybe then we can get some of that grandma factor for ourselves. Our families will be better for it.

Slow down. Trust. Play games. Read books. Love unconditionally.

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