GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018 - 29

grand legacy
After I graduated high school I went into army because my parents couldn't afford to send me to college. I took advantage of the
GI bill. I wouldn't have gone otherwise. I was the first in my family
to get a college degree. My dad had 12 brothers and sisters, none
of whom finished high school. None of their children, my cousins,
went college. I was the only one to go. My wife told me later how
proud they were of me about this accomplishment. They never told
me, but they told her. I share the story with my grandchildren to let
them know how proud I am of them and their accomplishments.

side of the globe in real time. They can watch full movies on demand
on a personal device they carry in their hand. While some look at these
differences and lament about the "good old days," I see them as a
wonderful playground to explore and travel through time together.

Stories are the Bridge

"The shortest distance between two people is a story."
-Patti Digh
One way to share these intergenerational experiences is through
stories. Stories can be about your own life experience, to give your
grandchildren a glimpse into each other's world. Or perhaps it's
your tale of a universal "first." What it the story of your first date?
Your first kiss?
I remember being Patrol Boy for my school. I got to wear the
Official White Belt and direct children across the street and safely to
school. Today's 'Patrol Children' have been relegated to the safety of
the sidewalk while parents who wouldn't dream of letting their child
walk to school alone yell at the other parents to slow down and stay
in their designated lane for drop-off. But Patrol Boy was a tough
job! I once had to report a classmate for disobeying the rules. She
crossed the street when I told her not to. I reported her to the principal. Her 'boyfriend' beat me up after school. It was fifth grade!

Taking time to connect

before. You can research in minutes the best college for their career
choice, the best place to live for their plans to come alive. Even if it
may take them far away from you, for the moment you can simply
support their idea, infusing them with the passion to do anything.

Stories about Firsts

My first job was to deliver the Herald American newspaper in
Chicago, using a second hand bike. I dreamed of saving $26 and
going to the Sears and Roebuck near my house
Hooray for technology! My granddaughter Katie and I have used it to and getting a brand new bike. I started the
enable exposure to each other's taste in music. I shared The Weavers job in the fall, saved the $26 and bought my
with her. She gave me a taste of the Black-Eyed Peas. What fun we
bike. I always brought my bike inside-right
can have using their cell phone-the one we wish they would put
into my bedroom-each night. It was my
away. But you know the phrase-if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!
pride and joy and I couldn't chance it getting
Look up things together. Show me your favorite movie star and
stolen. I kept that job through Christmas, and
I will show you mine. Sophia Loren can stand up to any of the big
collected gifts from happy clients. And then
stars today. What fun it is to see what their favorite movie is, or
I quit. I was 14 years old and a freshman in
which headline that scares them the most, to know the things they high school. I didn't want to ride my bike in
dream about doing when they grow up.
the cold. (Maybe I should check with their
With technology, as they share their dreams, you can watch
parents-my adult children-before sharing
videos together about how they could do it and who has done it
that story.)

Digital Data Exchange

29 GRAND

MARCH APRIL 2018

I share these stories with my grandchildren and ask them to share
theirs. Learning about the other, leaving your own self to experience
the world of the other...it enhances the love and relationship when
you do this with your grandchildren. It's a back and forth that lets
you connect on a deeper level.
For me, I have asked my adult children to buy the textbook my
grandchild is reading in school. I watch the shows they mention
they like; I have weekly calls to visualize their daily lives. I share with
them my world and what I need from them, as I offer to be there,
unconditionally, for them.
Your world plus their world equals a bigger world. And it nourishes a loving, connected relationship that is out of this world.

A long-time social work professional,
grandparenting activist, and passionate
grandpa, author Jerry Witkovsky offers
fresh approaches to help grandparents
enter their grandchild's world, to leave
values, not just valuables, and create a
living legacy. Over the past year he has
undertaken extensive research and evaluation to support
the transformative effect grandparents can have on families
and communities when they enter their grandchild's world
via a Grandparent Connection School Program. Learn more
about starting a program at your grandchild's school at
http://www.grandparentsunleashed.com.


https://www.facebook.com/GRANDmagazine/ https://www.twitter.com/grandMmagazine https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KKNPFS8/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=grandmagazi0d-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01KKNPFS8&linkId=056421a79a06ea235bc73cb72a4b7c0e https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KKNPFS8/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=grandmagazi0d-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01KKNPFS8&linkId=056421a79a06ea235bc73cb72a4b7c0e http://www.grandparentsunleashed.com/

GRAND Magazine - March/April 2018

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