Rites of passage…
Looking at a recent selfie photo of me and my granddaughter, I find myself trying to look around some miraculous corner on the photo so I can see if that’s really what I look like in today’s world.
I admit it is me. It’s the ‘me’ who has finally accepted that I’m not going to grow to be 5’6” or have a wrinkle-free face or a head full of thick hair again. It’s hard to explain how symptoms of aging were so slow that I didn’t notice until my granddaughter said, “Nana, I know you are older than my friend’s parents, but I’m not going to be embarrassed like I was when I was younger, because I know you are my mother and my grandmother, too. So I’m just glad you love me!”
Now, that was a surprise, because my granddaughter told me a few years ago that she had heard some of her friends talking about me. Of course, they are between the ages of 10 and 12, so it was just another confirmation of me aging. I wasn’t aging gracefully and it was not my appearance that I was concerned about anymore. Now, it’s my health and wanting to feel good every day.
I eventually got past this and remembered what good friends I have. I just needed to start making plans to have lunch, maybe work out at the YMCA or get together to watch a movie. Of course, their lives are as full as mine but we are still striving to make it happen.
My granddaughter is almost 13-years old and is as tall as me. She is a petite little “tween” and it seems as if she changes every day. She and I have had several clashes about her clothes. I admit I am old-fashioned and don’t know about all the latest style, so I called my daughter so we could go through my granddaughter’s closet and separate all the clothing so she knew what she would wear every day.
What wisdom would you give a granddaughter whose outlook about life has changed, along with all the physical changes. There is one subject that has repeatedly come up, and that is to tell her to not try to be a fixer. If your friends don’t agree on something, stay out of their disagreements. I know kids her age consider school as much of a social event as they may about it being a learning environment. It is true that it must be balanced in order for kids to feel comfortable with their teachers and classmates and be confident to learn.
As a parent, I want to be in touch with my granddaughter’s teachers at least twice a year, because I want to know what their opinion is of her in several types of situations mentioned above. I’ve read in textbooks that if your 13-year-old does not respect you at that age, there is a great possibility you may lose them to their friends, and it may not be the choice of friends you want to accept.
The teenagers in this century are completely different and face more temptation and danger than I faced growing up. So, our family’s main objective is to let my granddaughter that know we always have her back, that we are always here with an open ear to listen, and most importantly, to us is to teach her to have faith in God.
So, almost every night, we read a New Testament magazine for teens that contain short Bible stories. Since we started this practice months ago, I’ve seen a difference in the way my granddaughter is opening up and talking to us more about her daily activities and what may be going on with friends or family situations.
If we could only be as perfect as the Bible stories suggest we should be, wouldn’t that be a wonderful world? But as human beings, we make mistakes every day. It is my belief that a true believer is not one who jud-ges or decides to choose an unacceptable path just because he or she may not understand that God is always there willing to forgive and give a person chance after chance to come back to Him and turn one’s life around to make the choice to live for Him.
It’s never too late to choose love, kindness and empathy towards others as Jesus did when he walked on this Earth.
Keep smiling, Rosie
P.S. Don’t forget to Drive to Arrive Alive!
Talk with your loved ones every day about what to expect when you are traveling. Don’t hesitate to teach them to be a defensive driver. As you drive, point out to them what other drivers are doing wrong, especially running yellow caution and red traffic lights. Remember, the life you save could be your own!