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:



Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I have a friend who is loving, balanced, insightful, and an overall great human being. Her parents divorced while raising their family. Her mom, Joyce, grandmother of ten, offered this advice about how to minimize the impact of divorce for all involved:

"Keeping the focus on the origin of our problem helped maintain as much harmony for the family as possible.

In short, the adult relationship was the root of our issues, not the children and family unit. We did not want to make our divorce the childrens' problem.

Remembering this vital distinction allowed us to come together as a family, even after we each re-married. Dissolving the marriage also allowed us to re-unite in friendship."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Pearl from Pearl

Ronny submitted these pearls from her mom...

Pearl Joyce Vanderhoof is a 3rd generation Pearl. She is 85 years old. She has 2 grandchildren named after her. She has raised 4 well-adjusted, happy (if such a thing is actually possible) children. All 6 of us adore each other. We have 5-6 family reunions a year. Pearl and our father Fred still travel the world and continue to be very active.

When asked what her "pearls of wisdom" were concerning raising her kids, she replied, "Make sure they have a father that feeds them and bathes them. But just as important is that they are very involved in household chores. Not only do they learn there are no free rides in life, but that they are a valuable contribution to their home."

All 4 of us kids got up on Saturday mornings and cleaned the house and yard. We got a break to watch Saturday morning television when "My Friend Flicka" came on. We worked for several hours. All of us working and complaining together. I remember it fondly now. I have instilled this same value in my own children.