Friday, August 28, 2009

The Grands

I was chatting with my mom earlier. She was mentioning that she wanted to take our boys to see their great- grandparents next weekend as a way to meet up and lessen our drive for when we have to pick them up. As she continued talking, she mentioned how my granddad is doing. He has been challenged with the beginning stages of Alzheimer's Disease. She then tells me that he has had some other challenges, including a recent stroke. We ended the conversation and I was sobered.

My grandmother lived in a small town in Allendale, SC. We often went there during my younger years. It was a town with about two traffic lights, gnats, one Hardees, and a constant soothing sound of freight and cargo trains. We would sit on the front porch of her house and then daringly jump off. Her car that she had for over 40 plus years still sits under the carport. She passed away some years ago. At the funeral, I was awakened to the fact that I needed to call my grandparents a lot more to check in on them. I got off to a great start. I was calling all of them at least twice a month. It was always good to hear them. Since then, with the welcomed distractions of work, school, and family, my calls seemed to fizzle. The twice a month has turned into a once every two months or longer.

The call from my mom reminded me of the concept of our own mortality and how we need to take advantage of every moment. It also reminds me that we need to cherish the times with our elders. I just don't know when God is going to call them home (this is a very sobering write).

I want my kids to see their great-grandparents. I hope they have a great time there.

Encourage your children to see or call their grandparents. It takes a couple of minutes or a weekend visit. There is no off season for your encouragement. Lend me your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

He called me "Sir!"

I was cutting my grass yesterday. Tall blades were high from all of the recent rain that we had been getting. I decided to be a good neighbor and cut our neighbor’s yard as well. She was very appreciative. Well, she sent out a young man to come and sweep up the excess grass that had gathered on her walkway. I saw the young man as I usually do. He is probably no more than about 21 years old. For the sake of privacy, I’ll call him Bob. I said hello; he said, as he always does, “Hello sir!” I was taken aback as I always am when he calls me ‘sir’. He never has tried to get to know my name. He simply calls me ‘sir’. This day, I took notice of this. I began talking to him. We talked about careers and cars while we were sweeping up the grass. We talked about our professions; he thought I was a college professor. A college professor?!?!? Let that one slide. As I readied myself to go inside, I told him my full name. His response was, “My name is Bob, sir!” There goes that “sir” again.

Does he think I am older in age or does he have a level of respect that is somewhat lost? I have not heard our younger generation call anyone ‘sir’ or mam’ in a very long time. As I was growing up, not only were my elders called by those terms, but also my own parents. It was an expectation that was set early. It showed that you respected them. Now, I am not calling any of us to charge our children to do the same. I understand that times have changed. There are many different cultures that do very different things, so I get that as well. Yet, I do encourage us to foster in our kids a level of respect for those who are ‘over us’- whether in age or authority. I will leave that to you. But fostering that respect in our children helps them in life. It also gives them an idea of how they want to be respected.

Lend me your thoughts and tell me how you foster this type of respect in your children. And if you don’t, what can you do to help them along? There is no off season in our learning…