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, May 26, 2010

New England Independence

Pansy is the epitome of New England warmth and pride. She has eyes that sparkle, a charming sense of humor, an infectious laugh, and a smile that can instantly light up a room. Upon first meeting her, you feel as though you've known her for years. At the age of 91, she holds her head high and never complains about her health, or the harsh Boston winters.

Pansy gave birth to four boys in the 1940's and 50's. As the mother of four boys, you can only imagine all the testosterone in the air, and it was necessary that she run a tight ship. Unfortunately though, Pansy had occasional bouts of migraine headaches that would keep her from performing her duties as commander-in-chief. As a result, she had to teach her boys how to take care of themselves. They learned to cook, clean, make lunches, and get themselves to school in the morning. Certainly not typical of boys raised during that time. They have all grown into responsible men, able to handle almost anything life presents them. Pansy taught them very well. A word of advice to parents though: "I did encourage my boys to be independent, but today there is a fine line between independence and safety. Parents have a much more difficult job in today's world."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

97 Years of Wisdom

My mother-in-law will celebrate her 97th birthday this year. Upon hearing her age, people who haven't yet met her tend to jump to conclusions about her quality of life. I must say that I don't blame them. I remember days long ago when my school service group would make visits to the local senior home. Many of the residents were in wheelchairs or confined to their beds. They seemed lonely and were hungry to interact with our group of teen kids.

My mother-in-law breaks that mold. She is one of those lucky individuals who has maintained an extremely sharp and witty mind. She is blessed with a a physical strength that enables her to live on her own in a 2-story home. She cooks, cleans, gardens, and either walks or takes public transport to wherever she needs to go. She is the epitomy of independence, and typically refuses to accept much help from anyone, including her children or grandchildren. Try to treat her to dinner, and she'll knock you down fighting for the bill.

In addition to being independent, she says the key to her success is the lifeskill of Flexibility. You never know what life is going to present to you, and you have to change with the times. Too many people get stuck in their ways, and they end up frustrated and unhappy. Try a new food, a new hobby, making a new friend....take a chance, and you will learn something new in the process!