You may ask what being a grandparent has to do with Fend Shui. My answer is, ‘Feng Shui is our reaction to our environment.’ Family is a piece of that puzzle.
Reflect back to when you heard you were becoming a grandparent, or fantasize about what it will be like. Did you or will you think, “I’m not ready for this.” or did you/will you think, like me, “I’m so excited!” The honor of a new life in our family meant many things and I couldn’t help but also daydream at the prospect of playing again along with freedoms I didn’t have as a parent. It is said ‘once a man, twice a child;’ (Rabbis) — meaning we are born and die with limited capabilities, yet live as adults once. While debatable, you get the concept.
Growing up, I did not want to listen when my parents talked about walking a mile in snow to go to school. Certainly, our children don’t want to hear the “same old” from us. In most cases, they can’t relate. Actually, my mother never went to school. She was in an Australian adoption home, never feeling wanted, and before education and “school” was mandated. Dad left home at 16 to join the service because his father passed and his mother couldn’t afford five children (one with a disability) during the Depression. As far a s grandparents, I only knew one. She came to live with us following an auto accident. Her temperament was such that on a good day she tolerated us.
Before both my parents passed, I asked each if we could go through pictures. Mom was an amateur photographer so she delighted to dig the photos out. This endeavor was one of the most memorable I had with them, Instead of asking what the pictures were, I asked what they were going through at the time, who their support group was, and what their joys and fears were. After all, we all have heavy boots to wear (something to learn, ways that we suffer). My parents met during World War II and my uncles all served in the military.The reality is that life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, regardless whether a parent, sibling, spouse, or for us as individuals. The questions I asked my parents were open-ended and invoked a bigger-picture explanation. their answers provided a real glimpse into their lives.
So, this article is about children. We can ask ourselves how our lives would be different “if.” We can’t go back, at least not yet, so it is our duty to go forward. Learn from the past and don’t make the same mistakes. My first pregnancy was an ectopic one so I never saw my child. My second was my daughter who eventually passed over. Keeping a long story short, decades later, my granddaughter was born. Gems that I have learned and want to share with you are listed in the short list below. Of course it is not inclusive, it provides a place to start. Remember, the youth of today are the future of tomorrow. Help create the future!
- When viewing a picture of your grandchild, ask them what is going on in their life (friends, bullies, teachers they like, teachers they don’t-and why to both, rather than about the picture itself.
- Encourage them to be all they can be. Limitations will reveal themselves as your grandchild grows. Remember to include lost arts such as manners and contributions such as chores.
- Teach them that money is a tool, not a means to an end. That being said, also teach them how to manage money–balance a checkbook, save and avoid debt.
- Set an example of acceptance. That might be an act of kindness every day to a stranger or a neighbor. Allow them to observe that everyone deserves respect.
- Actions speak louder than words.
- When you help others, take your grandchild with you.
- When you volunteer (soup kitchen, food bank, clothing drive, picking up trash, etc)take them with you.
- When you vote, take them with you.
- Let them know their actions and words make a difference. Complaining isn’t productive-instead, action discloses ways that work, or are discoveries in and of themselves. Coach them that wounds may heal but words last forever-what we put into the world comes back to us.
- Consider a change of perspective by making another city or country available. A change of environment can be eye opening.
- Educate them that instant gratification is temporary.
- Each person needs to learn their own truth and purpose. That means reading, processing, problem solving and learning.
- Technology (TV, the internet, iPods, etc) occupies us but what has it really made better? Information can be controlled and manipulated. Take your grandchildren into nature and explore the wonders there. Seek other people and creatures to expand their horizons.
- Enlist your grandchildren in growing, cooking and shopping for healthy food.
- tutor them on what is good for Mother Earth, what is meant by sustainable, renewable and attuning to the environment. It is rewarding to reuse, renew and recycle.
- Persuade them to write their own legacy-begin with the end in mind. Each one of us has an innate desire to make a difference. Ask your grandchild how they want to be remembered…and be supportive when the story changes.
- Love them unconditionally. Let them know that no matter what happens, you are there for them.
There are wonderful books these days that offer more ideas, but I hope this has provided tips on “being” with a grandchild. it is easy to get caught up in doing and buying, but “being” means sharing ourselves.
If you’ve ever heard “I’ll be a better parent than you were!” a great response to that is “Good, you got it! We’re supposed to learn as we grow!”
This quote reinforces the notion that we need to do things differently. “We did not inherit the Earth of our forefathers, we are borrowing it from our children.” -Crazy Horse
Here are a couple of resources I recommend: Grandmother’s Memories to Her Grandchild by Thomas Kinkaide and Lists to Live By by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens and John Van Diest. They apply for both grandmothers and grandfathers.
In conclusion, when people want to know what Feng Shui is, to me it is ultimately feeling safe and secure in my environment. To do that, we need to participate-to try to understand. Just as no two children are the same, no two grandparents are the same and no two homes are the same. We approach each relationship and circumstance uniquely. The tips I’ve share are guidelines. Just as our children and grandchildren deserve more than a cookie-cutter approach to life, Feng Shui does as well.
My husband and I collect our granddaughter a couple of times a month for an extended visit. We play, read explore and talk. It is a sacred time and an absolute joy.
Hope for the future depends on what we make of today. It isn’t up to one leader, one nation or one relationship. It is up to us!