My husband and I are only able to visit our two Arizona grandsons once or twice a year; but because we have regular FaceTime visits, they have never been shy with us.
When we do see them in person, they always run to greet us with hugs, yelling “Grandpa! Grandma!”, and then follow-up with a barrage of talk, one interrupting the other:
“Do you want to hear me play my trumpet and the song I wrote?”
“I got my orange belt in Kajukenbo!”
“I came in first place for the kindergartener’s one mile race on Friday!”
They love sharing with us whatever is important to them at the moment.
Toward the end of last school year “C” told me a story. “Grandma, at school today some boys were being really mean to a girl. I don’t know why they have to be mean. I kept telling them to stop but they wouldn’t listen to me. There was no one around, and I couldn’t leave the girl alone. Bad stuff could happen. I didn’t know what to do. So, I tackled them. That stopped them but I’m kicked out of school for one day for fighting.”
“What happened after you got home?” I questioned. “C” answered, “Mom, took me out for ice cream.” I responded, “I’m very proud of you for protecting that girl. You’re right, bad stuff could have happened. There may have been other ways to stop the boys without fighting. Fighting isn’t a great way to solve problems but you did the best you could and protected the girl who really needed help.”
Because of technology, I was able to hear “C’s” story, affirm him in his intentions, and give him advice for future encounters. We had a meaningful conversation about important things—all over FaceTime!
The technology we have and how we use it can help us engage with our grandchildren in unique ways—and the variety of technology available to them will certainly increase as they get older. Now that our 11-year-old grandson has his own limited-use cell phone, we’re beginning a text messaging adventure. Grandma and Grandpa are more than ready for the challenge!
For Discussion: What technology are you using to keep in touch with your grandkids? Does it vary by their age?
For Action: Think ahead now about what other technology you may want to use with your grandkids as they get older. You may even revert to something “old” like a hand-written letter or “new” like an online chess game.
Rene Shireman lives in Lansing, Michigan with her loving husband of 46 years, Tim. They have four grandchildren (three boys and one girl) and have been members of the Work of Christ Community for 43 years.
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