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Tales Gently Twisted

Messing with the Brothers Grimm? Sacrilege! So, imagine our surprise when GRAND discovered the new Gram’s Fairy Tales™: A New, Kinder, Gentler Telling of Fairy Tale Favorites© series of delightfully clever and gore-free stories.

Grandparents who were raised on and still cherish the traditional (but often violent) old tales will appreciate being able to introduce classic characters and life lessons to youngsters without terrifying them. Author Susan Meredith (a loving grandmother herself and a not-at-all-wicked stepmother) has a quirky sense of humor that shines in her plot twists that both adults and kids will enjoy.

We’re happy to report that in Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel and The Enchanted Flounder (a riff on “The Fisherman and His Wife”), no one gets eaten by wolves, no one gets abandoned in the forest, and happy endings abound. More titles at gramsfairytales.com. [$7.99 each at Amazon; select titles available on iTunes]

For Want of a Blanket, the World Was Stopped

How Emma Stopped the World, by Gene and Iris Rotberg, was inspired by an actual incident involving Iris and her granddaughter. Colorfully illustrated by Macarena Vejar, this story is about 6-year-old Emma, who can’t find her beloved blanket after she’s been riding in the car with her grandmother. Next thing you know, traffic, commerce and work grind to a halt — all over the world! Boys and girls will like this story, and grandparents get to playfully impart a valuable lesson: Everyone can make a difference in the world. [Available at Amazon, 12.95]

Piano for Preschoolers

For families who want to introduce their youngsters to the piano in a fun and rewarding way, Learning to Play Piano for the Very Young is a winner. The book is designed for the adult and child to experience making music together. Kids learn to play seven well-loved songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle” and “Jingle Bells.” Author Debbie Cavalier is an educator and dean at Berklee College of Music. Book ($9.95) is available at various retailers and from Debbie and Friends Music.

How to Mentor Grandkids Far, Far Away

Though physically distant from his grandchildren during their formative years, David Nagle shared his lifetime of experiences through a series of emails sent to them during their teens and early 20s. His book, Emails to My Grandchildren: Internet Mentoring the Next Generation Once Removed [available at Amazon] serves as an inspiration to all grands. Could our emails — full of wisdom (of course!) but never judgmental or syrupy (hmmm, that might be a challenge) — give us that yearned-for close connection with our own long-distance grandkids? Worth a try!

Grands Helping Grands!

Advocates for Grandparent Grandchild Connection, a nonprofit organization that addresses grandparent visitation issues, meets at 6:30 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Gulfport Senior Center, 5501 27th Avenue South, Gulfport, FL 33707. For more information, visit http://www.grandparentchildconnect.org or email lostaccesstampabay@gmail.com.

Searching for a support group in your area or want to start one? See page 33 in this issue, and contact Susan Hoffman at afggc@grandwishes.org.

Age-Old Question: Is It Time for a Nursing Home?

Finally, a book that provides practical guidance to boomers faced with the difficult decision of finding a nursing home for their elderly parents: You Promised Never to Put Me in a Nursing Home! 5 Steps to Find the Best Nursing Home [available from Amazon]. Janis D. Lasser, a director of social services for a Texas healthcare company (and a boomer herself), clearly and compassionately discusses solutions for the emotional and financial complexities of placing loved ones in nursing homes. Lasser gives simple, well-tested answers and approaches to make the transition less stressful for all concerned.

A Prayer to Myself

Please let me live long enough so I can share my acquired wisdom and experiences with my grandchildren. It was impossible to share them with my children because they, like most kids, resist parents telling them anything. But I think my grandchildren will listen with some interest to my stories and may even benefit from what may seem like folklore to them.

Let me live long enough to remain interesting and fun but not become a boring and repetitive presence in their lives. Aging well is a lifelong process that requires intelligence and a degree of self-sacrificing love that grows over time. Ultimately it turns a person into someone of special value with something to give rather than a needy person looking for someone to give to them. Without that inner core and generous spirit, being old can be a prison of self-centeredness and regret.

Like learning to play the piano or any instrument or sport, the key is practice, practice, practice.

Let me practice being funny,

Becoming more interesting,

Telling stories of my past that have a lesson.

Leda Sanford, author of Pure Moxie and Look for the Moon in the Morning

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