“That’s my father.” … Seemingly an innocent and offhand remark made by the youngest of his three children, those three little words meant much more to our dad. I know it made him feel proud and happy to be that father, that figure of authority and loving protector of his family.
It was a responsibility he took seriously, a role that only he could execute with his unique brand of friendship, understanding and humour…”
I’ve been reading various collections of short stories lately, the latest of which was written by Fred H. Rohn. Encounters: Relationships in Conflict is a unique, insightful and entertaining read.
The preface alone is a treat, where Rohn explains how he came to create this collection from accumulated notes and short stories over the years, and how each of them exhibit relationships and the “conflict between people resulting from differing perceptions, often between men and women and between different generations.”
In his preface, he also sets forth the belief that creativity does not have to end as you age, and that many seniors like himself are productive in a variety of artistic and creative endeavors. After all, they’ve lived through some pretty tough experiences which, I surmise, affords them a better grasp and understanding of the human condition. Reading this book only further convinces me of that!
As I began each short story selection, I found myself immediately engaged by the author’s sublime writing style and smooth but compelling narrative and voice. Each piece has its own charm, but I do have my favourites. The Piano Recital, Reunion Deals, Jennifer (!), Doc Brunner (that one brought a tear) and Harry particularly resonated with me, while others, such as The Old Man, made me chuckle.
This book offers clever insight to young readers and familiar life experiences for older readers. I highly recommend this lovely collection.
Today’s post is brought to you by my guest, author Susan Day.
Spending time with your grandchildren is one of the best things you can do for them, and for you too, for that matter.
Sure, kids love gifts and candy, and they get really excited about going to a theme park or spending time with their friends. However, there is a secret world which exists right outside the window and one which has a powerful allure. I’m referring to nature.
Nature offers an endless array of beauty and wonder, and for the most part it’s free and easy to access. Taking your grandchildren outdoors is a great way to build a strong connection with them. Just spending time and ‘being’ with children is important for their wellbeing.
Some children don’t get outdoors enough, and the simple act of wandering along the street, running at the park or tramping through the beach sand is an experience they are sadly missing out on.
Ignite a Sense of Curiosity
Research tells us that curious kids are intelligent kids. The more questions they ask, the more their minds grow and develop.
Nature has a bounty of things to be curious about. You could literally spend hours outside with your grandchildren exploring, and you don’t have to live near a forest or a beach to enjoy nature either. It’s in your yard, in your neighbor’s yard, at your local park, or any place a tree is growing and the birds are singing.
Do your grandkids know where bees go, and what they are doing buzzing around those flowers? Do they know why some birds migrate, and others live in the same area all their lives?
Point Out the Beauty in Small Objects
Each time your grandchildren come to visit, make a point of taking them outside and showing them something nature is doing. It might be new buds on the tree or the color autumn leaves are turning.
How many people rush through their busy days, not noticing subtle changes happening around them? Isn’t there something magnificent about the way birds take off or the way clouds move across the sky?
“Isn’t that interesting…” you might begin to say, and then point out an aspect of nature that is happening right under their very noses.
Look at a Leaf
What shape is it? Does it have any spots or spines? Compare it to another leaf from a plant that is growing close by. What things are similar? What are different? You could also begin a leaf scrap-book and share details of trees and shrubs that live in your area.
Analyse an Ant
Who doesn’t love bugs? Well, most adults don’t find them interesting, but kids love ’em! Bugs, beetles, aphids, and ants are like miniature dinosaurs or creatures from outer space living in our backyards. Without interfering with their busy lives, make a point of sharing these remarkable creatures with your grandchild.
Marvel at Moths
Moths, butterflies and dragonflies all go about their daily lives in nearly every place on earth, living in the most amazing ways.
Your grandchildren will love to learn about them. They will enjoy the wonder nature has to offer through your eyes, and come to a deeper understanding of how remarkable the world really is.
“I’d Rather Watch TV, Grandma!”
Nature has a way of going about its business whether we are watching or not, and all the while our televisions and devices are nagging us to watch and engage.
You may find your grandchildren are not used to examining nature in so much detail. They may not understand what you are getting at, but one thing is for sure: they won’t forget the time you have spent with them and how important nature was to you. It is a privilege to be able to see what nature is doing, and stand in awe of what it will do next.
What child doesn’t deserve to be introduced to all of this wondrous world?
No doubt your grandkids will grow and mature, and will find themselves stopping to admire a flower or cloud patterns. They will turn to a friend, their partner or even their own children, and share memories they have of you and how you introduced them to one of the most magnificent things on this planet – nature.
Susan lives in Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, two rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.
Interested in sharing one of your original articles as a guest? Feel free to submit your ideas to email@example.com. Preference is given to topics relevant to my blog, such as books, writing, nature, photography, travel, children and pets. – Jennifer
Alright, I admit it.I am clearly the more introverted feline in this two-cat family.
Often the loner – the diametric opposite of my sister Vivian –
you will usually find me shying away from the spotlight.
Yes, I am a lap cat, and an affectionate one at that…
…but Vivian is the more “in your face” sister,
and the more photogenic one,
so naturally she gets the lion’s share of attention.
I’m the quiet and cautious girl who moves with stealth,
who wonders why Vivian is so annoyingly vocal.
And even though I might seem timid,
I’m actually more “alpha” than Viv.
I guess that’s why Jennifer says I’m the glue that holds us all together.
Do you live in a multi-cat or multi-pet household?
Do you sometimes feel overshadowed by your sibling?
Recently, I was catching up with someone I hadn’t seen in a while.
At first, the conversation was pleasant, as was my general mood, but as the chatting continued, I realized this person was swimming in barely concealed hostility.
Almost everything that came out of this person’s mouth was either a brag or a humble brag, a passive-aggressive remark, or a backhanded compliment (don’t you just love it when someone insults you like that – and it’s “socially acceptable”?).
But perhaps what rankled most was the obvious avoidance of discussing anything going on in my life. Whether the reason for this was self-absorption, disinterest, jealousy, or whatever, I could only hazard to guess.
So what did I decide to do? Well, I held my tongue and chose to follow the advice from Ms. Angelou as stated above. I decided to look at the experience differently, to frame it in a way that muted the annoyance I felt, and replace it with understanding.
I already know this person has difficulties going on in his own life, which helped me to recognize that the hostility had very little to do with me.
So I chose to temper my hurt with this awareness. The pain he is presently enduring in his life is far worse than anything he could inflict on me with his words. And perhaps, along with that, he was having an especially hard day.
It doesn’t always work, but in this case, a little understanding made all the difference.
Have you ever consciously changed your thought processes about something?
How has it worked for you?
How do you deal with difficult people?
There are all sorts of good-byes in this world. This past weekend, a blogger friend of mine had to say good-bye to one of her dear little cats, and everyone who knows me at all knows what cats mean to me. I feel your grief, Lois!
And you might think when another blogger friend decides to no longer continue with her blog that it wouldn’t be a very big deal, but to me, it is. A virtual, cyber relationship can be meaningful, especially when it is a relationship that has gone on for a while and you have supported each other in ways other people can’t. She will be missed. 😦
But I am richer for having known her. As a writer, I understand why she needs to do this. And we will still be in touch on Twitter (though that isn’t the same!)
I wish all the best for you, C.R., in your writing career and everything you do.