Tuesday, May 21, 2013


How do we go about selecting a grandparent persona? It seems logical that we would bring our best parenting strategies to the table, but Cory and I want to be selective about the ways we interact with our grandsons. We want to be remembered around the family dining table years from now through fun stories and traditions of our own as grandparents.

Our boys with their Grandma, Madge
Cory was going on a trip this week, so I took out his mother's famous molasses cookie recipe to make his favorite cookies to take on the road. As I looked at her handwriting, I decided we should be more like his mother when it came to having a special relationship with grandchildren. Madge Shaffer was highly educated in the Greek and Latin classics, yet she adapted to the changing times as she aged, without compromising what was important. She loved to make banana bread, apple dumplings, and molasses cookies for the boys and was current on the things that mattered.

She would never have texted in abbreviated form, gotten a tattoo, pierced anything, or used the current vernacular to be popular with the grandchildren. She didn't need to. She had the grandma persona thing down...homemade bread, jams, cookies, hand written notes, and a genuine interest in the lives of her grandchildren.

Fortunately, my son and daughter-in-law have established a very clear foundation with respect to behavior and manners, and Cory and I continue to model the traditions and upbringing that we passed to our sons, and they to theirs. With all of that hard work already in place, I think we're due some wiggle room to establish some Pops' house rules. For example, here it's okay to drink the milk or last of the melted ice cream from the bottom of the bowl like Pops does. The boys understand that's only okay here, and they share a little moment with Pops when they lift their bowls. So, we'll continue paying more than lip service to the values passed to us, while we let the boys share a quick wink over a tipped up bowl of ice cream. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Return to Childhood

I spent the weekend with our son's family and found myself returning to the spring days I remember from the 1950s. Electronic devices were left behind as we explored the walking trails at Elcona Country Club in Bristol, IN.  The boys ran and explored the five mile trail system which is part of the partnership our son, Greg, has established with the Audubon Society in his role as Golf Course Superintendent.

Greg encourages club members to use the trails all year for sledding, cross country skiing, running, and hiking. He posts maps and more information on his blog, Rub of the Green, where members get updates on efforts being made at Elcona Country Club to be responsible for and appreciative of the environment. Kudos to the superintendent and board at this country club for their forward thinking that allows current and future generations to enjoy timeless traditions on protected land.