Going from a home where the sound of growing children has been long absent, to spending time in a home where they are actively growing, reawakens the youth in us.
Leaving behind the daily dose of news, which can wear a person down after a while, and a generally quiet lifestyle, and then experiencing a noise level usually measured on the Richter scale, has turned this retiree’s life upside down, but in a good way.
We had the privilege of watching the older three grandkids while their youngest sibling underwent his surgery. This change of pace, while being looked forward to, caught us by surprise. We have had them for short periods of time, but to have them 24/7 for several days, was a different kettle of fish.
Both my wife and myself grew up under a disciplinarian system; not negatively, but with a strong teaching component.
So, of course, we have tried that here, and have met with some strong resistance to some of the disciplines.
We had to stand back and rethink what we were doing and change our strategy to suit the system they were used to from their parents, who have been quite successful in their teachings.
Not that we slacked off, we just changed our wording and applications. Here is what we observed to help us in our decisions.
The middle child caught her finger in the cupboard door and pinched it quite severely. Her crying lasted quite a while and was of the heartstring-tugging variety.
The oldest immediately went to her side to hold and hug her in an attempt to provide solace and comfort.
The day before, No. 3 was missing his Mom and Dad and became quite sad. The two sisters did their best to cheer him up and assure him that they would be home soon, even though they themselves had bouts of the same emotions.
Gone was the controlling discipline, which we turned into a teaching discipline; naturally, it works. I guess you can still teach an old dog new tricks.
Going to the beach where there were many others, the antics of the children along with their enthusiasm, absolutely shouted out life.
Life to be enjoyed to the fullest, without fear, just total abandonment. Just watching them brings a new surge of enthusiasm to us adults who have almost become immune to that same carefree attitude.
Observing our grandkids in their play, periodically interrupted by a moment of selfish possessiveness, we were able to see the effects of positive interaction when they were not in a “mine, mine” frame of mind.
Their enjoyment of each other and their love for each other shone through. This was most evident the day that Mom and Dad brought home the youngest after his surgery.
Having arrived late at night after the grandkids had gone to bed, the next morning was a time of joyful and raucous reunion. But when they saw baby brother with all the stitching on his head, but with a new shape, they instantly became quiet and very tender.
Being a part of all this has been an honour and a privilege, because in all of these high stress times, we were able to see that in this up-and-coming generation is the epitome of life at its fullest.
Tears and laughter are separated only by moments of time, and a few encouraging words, while work and play have a much greater separation.
In spite of the political assaults and the commercial influence, in our youth, we see life that we have to nourish and interact with.
Life: it is revealed in the lives of our children.
Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.