Grandma's Pearls

I would like to invite you to join me on a journey. On November 1st, 2003, my mother died of pancreatic cancer. Her passing meant not just that I had lost a cherished family member, or that our community had lost a compassionate human being, but as a grandma she had a plethora of "pearls" on nearly any topic of child rearing, and these were gone with her as well. When I became a pediatrician in 1988, I would tap into her common-sense knowledge on a regular basis. Through the years, I found that many of my pediatric patients' grandparents enjoyed sharing their words of wisdom with me in my office, and I found these pearls especially valuable when I started my own family over ten years ago.

The journey I'm proposing is a shared attempt to capture this vast collection of accumulated wisdom on my blog. "Grandma's Pearl's" will celebrate a very special group of individuals who deserve to have a forum for sharing their hard-earned life lessons with others. It will be a compilation of advice from grandparents from all walks of life...capturing the insights of the grandparent-next-door, to the still-out-in-the workforce grandparent, to more.

My hope is that "Grandma's Pearls" will be a ray of inspiration for both new parents and experienced parents alike. Not a "how-to" manual on baby care, but rather a collection of practical, no-nonsense tips on how to raise good kids. You can share a couple of sentences, a paragraph, or a full-blown story if you'd like. I welcome you to share your pearls of wisdom and wit with the world!

Questions (these are suggestions only)....substitute in "dad, grandfather," etc. where appropriate:

  1. What tips do you (or passed down from your mother, mother-in-law, or grandmother) have on raising caring, happy, responsible, and well-adjusted kids?

  2. What did you (or your mom) do right, and/or what could have been done better?

  3. Was there a transforming moment in your (or your mom's) life that served as a guide in raising children? As a result of this moment, is there a "pearl" to pass on?

  4. Do you have a favorite "grandmotherly" quote that has helped you in parenting your children?

To submit a "pearl" click on:



Saturday, February 17, 2007


According to the doctors, Amy should never have lived to see all seven of her grandchildren. Ten years ago, just before retirement, she was diagnosed with an advanced cancer of the uterus that had spread to her colon. Her doctors estimated she had little time to get her affairs in order. But Amy decided to fight back. She endured through three surgeries, chemo, and radiation. Although Amy's body was so weak that she was confined to a wheelchair and unable to even lift her head, she continued to believe in herself. With the support of her oncologist, her family, and the prayers of her church family, she embarked on journey of healing that not only included Western medicine, but acupuncture and other Eastern therapies as well.

One day, a friend invited her to come to her dance lessons, and Amy came to watch, wheelchair and all. That was a turning point in Amy's mind. She believed she could do it. She was going to dance! Now, ten years later, Amy and her husband are on the dance floor, kicking up their heels every week. They are enjoying their grandchildren, and have just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Here is Amy's pearl: "Parents should give their children the encouragement they need to feel good about themselves. Self-esteem and self-confidence are so important in their young lives growing up. They just need to know that they are their own person, and that they can do and be whatever they want to do and be. One thing they will never need is to have their parents (or any other adult) put them down. Help give your children the confidence to believe in themselves!"

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A Loss

As I was looking over my reading list recently, I thought it would be nice to ask for a "pearl" from the mother of Richard Carlson, the author who is best known for his "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" series. Judging by Richard's philosophy and outlook on life, I would suspect that Mrs. Carlson is a wise and wonderful mother and grandmother.

In checking out the "Don't Sweat" website however, I was saddened to discover that Richard had just passed away at the young age of 45. He was on a flight from San Francisco to New York City last December 13th, and died of a pulmonary embolism, resulting in cardiac arrest. Richard was the best selling author of 30 books, which focused on the themes of kindness, patience, gratitude and generosity.

Athough he didn't live long enough to enjoy "Grandpa" status, Richard's books are chock full of wise and wonderful pearls. Even if you've read his books before, pick one up and read it again. I guarantee that you'll learn something new. His words seem all the more powerful, now that his too-short time on earth has come to an end. You can read more about Richard's life on his website: