My wife brought into the world five magnificent children. As a result, today, we enjoy eight grandchildren (we lost one grandson) and a great granddaughter. My days then were busy maintaining a career, trying to keep bread on the table and a roof over our heads, so I could not always help with all the daily challenges of raising our children. Some weeks I worked 24/7, and at times needed to spend time away from home for extended periods. When I had the opportunity to spend quality time with our children, it was practically impossible for it to be one-on-one.
Now, time is not an issue. Now, we are two gray-haired folks who have achieved the exalted status of nana and papa. Now, as when we were young , life continues to be all about the future. You see, this nana and papa take care of two little boys, ages two and four, our grandchildren, while their mother is working. It makes for challenging days, yet joyful, fulfilled, and exciting. Our lives now are all about helping their mom and dad to shape two little boys to become responsible adults, who we will guide to attain wisdom and good hearts.
Every day, I look at our two little boys and realize with a deep sense of fulfillment what my wife and I have contributed. I now have a profound understanding of the purpose of life. I can tell you the trip has been worthwhile.
Now I understand, more than ever, there cannot be anything more important than the way we interact with children. I don’t think as a younger man I fully realized that in the same way as I do now. If I had, I would have found work that would have allowed me greater participation in my children’s growth.
But my management career did lead me to a great book by Thomas Harris, M.D., “I’m Ok — you’re Ok,” that played a significant role in my relationships with, and in the way I managed, people. It now plays a significant role in my relationship and interaction with those two little boys.
So, besides ensuring that our boys’ day is safe, healthy, and happy, my goal is to end the day with our boys in a way that they feel okay, I’m important, that they feel good about themselves. The future belongs to little boys and girls like our two little boys. The solutions to the problems of the world lie with our children. The kind of individuals, parents, and grandparents they become directly influence our future. Peaceful parenting, using the principles of “I’m Ok — You’re Ok,” is the key.
No one can satisfactorily argue with Dr. Harris’ view, “The problems of the world . . . essentially are the problems of individuals. If individuals can change, the course of the world can change. Peaceful parenting for a peaceful world is a choice that every parent [and grandparent] can make.”