“Once upon a time not too long ago there were these two guys. One guy was pretty big so he was called Big Guy. The other guy wasn’t so big yet so he was called Little Guy. They were pals! They loved to go on these adventures together and each time Big Guy brought his compass and Little Guy brought his whistle. One day…………………….”
These words are taken from a relationship formed between a grandfather and his grandson. They took shape through circumstance, imagination and love in a series of bedtime stories. (We now share them as Big Guy and Little Guy Adventure Stories.) They echo the joy of nurturing and the need for young boys to have a positive male role model. This relationship is an example of the unexpected that can happen to families at any time. We can make plans but we can’t plan outcomes!
As in most cases the outcome was a joyful experience. Somehow, through the twists and turns of life, a father with grown children found himself as surrogate father figure to his grandson. When a father helps rear his son and daughters there is an intuitive knowing the relationship will last a lifetime in some shape or fashion. However, little thought, if any, is given to one day being a “father figure” to a grandchild. Well it’s happening!
When a grandparent assumes some portion of the role of parent to grandchildren, it’s both a challenge and an opportunity for growth. Boundaries, balance, generosity, modeling behavior and patience are just some of the issues that surface. Though this “experience” may be the norm in some cultures, it goes against the grain in North American culture; a culture that embarked upon an exodus from extended family support some 40 years ago. Back then, I believe most grandparents supported parents (mother and father); they didn’t assume a parenting role unless one parent was absent and that was the exception.
Parenting our grandchildren is just one example of the changes that are taking place in our society. “Boomers” (those of us 46 – 61 years of age) have been participants in rapid change since the 60’s. Apparently we are pretty good at it and there are legions of us. Due to our size and status we are being viewed with increasing interest. We are political blocs, market feeders, snowbirds, technological adapters, parents to our grandchildren and have aptly been named “the Transition Generation”.
I may be among millions of boomers asking, “Where Did I Come From? What Am I Doing Here? Where Am I Going?”. I may digest the teachings of Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, and the Dali Lama. I may read about the journeys of authors like Joseph Campbell, Marianne Williamson and Oscar Romero. I may focus my intentions not to harm others; to be compassionate, kind and generous to all sentient beings and this incredible planet. I may believe the responsibility of our generation is to model peace, harmony and joy with all those we come in contact with. I may believe positive words and actions bring positive change in every sphere of influence. I may desire to join this Transition Team with the soul purpose of helping to build a kinder, gentler, healthy planet for my grandchildren, children and me! Membership is free!