This is a great time of year to tell family stories. I purposely take the opportunity to retell my Grandma Isabel’s holiday story of gratitude each year to my children. The story goes like this… her depression era grandparents would give each grandchild woolen socks with candy and an orange. The gift was welcome to almost all of my grandmother’s brothers and sisters who usually received very little under the Christmas tree. But one Christmas her ungrateful sister Ada complained that they were itchy and she didn’t like them. Offended, her grandparents stopped the Christmas gift giving. My grandmother was heartbroken, but her heart always remembered the importance of being thankful. Her lesson of gratitude was repeated in story form for me each year! I have continued the same story and sharing the importance of the value of gratitude.
My kids look forward to Christmas for 11 months each year! The last thing I want to hear is them being an “Ada” and complaining about is how they didn’t get everything they wanted, but teaching and having a spirit of gratitude instead. Before Christmas, I try to set aside a time to do something for others. They have griped at times…I will be honest…but I know that serving others will help make them into a better people. It’s harder for them to think about their little problems when they see the Bob-Cratchit-sized issues of the less fortunate.
Janet Smith is a Human Science Specialist-Family LIfe with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She currently provides family life programming in eight counties in southeast Iowa. Janet is a "parenting survivor". She is the mother of Jared-21, Hannah-20, and Cole-15. She and her husband, David have faced many challenges together, including their son Jared's Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy diagnosis.
As we come into a season of spending time with family I thought I would dig into how to manage those times of ‘togetherness’. Grandparents and grandchildren can be both excited and nervous to spend time together during family functions. Children may exhibit behavior grandparents aren’t used to and that can be a confusing dilemma. Extension.org has a great article on understanding children’s behavior during these exciting family times.
Understanding Grandchildren’s Behaviors
Don’t get me wrong, spending time together with extended can be a fabulous time. In fact another article I read made me smile and think of how much I miss my own grandparents and the wonderful stories they told.
Stories about Grandparents and Grandchildren
I am grateful for the many stories I heard, for grandparents that understood my nervous behaviors and for countless times spent with extended family members.
Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.