We attended a family wedding in Fredericksburg, Virginia. While there we did some exploring of the area. That exploring led us to the Rappahannock Railroad Museum. It really isn’t that much, just two cabooses and a box car to walk through and see some cool old stuff. It is manned by volunteers, and is only open from 9am – noon on Saturdays. They give free rides on a work car. As we were waiting on the work car, there was a young man working around it, and then he said something that started with ‘Grandpa…’ That just warmed my heart immediately. Here was a young man, maybe a senior in high school, or a recent graduate, definitely not much older, and he was spending his Saturday morning with his Grandpa volunteering at a railroad museum. The young man ended up being our ‘driver’; and his Grandpa sat with him on the lead car, and was our ‘guide’ for the quick trip along the tracks. We later learned that mother/daughter was working the museum, too. Three generations working together as volunteers at the railroad museum. That is what family is all about.
The young man and his Grandpa were talking between each other while the cars were loading. The young man was not there because he was being forced, he had a relationship with his Grandpa. There were discussing train whistles, specifically that the grandson had found a train whistle for his truck on ebay, and it was only $1,000. Two different worlds meeting with a common interest. This young man respected his Grandpa; and Grandpa respected this young man.
We need Grandma’s and Grandpa’s in children’s lives. We need uncles and aunts; great uncles and great aunts; cousins; and of course, mom and dad and brothers and sisters. The family unit is sacred. Multi-generations used to live in the same home, that is rare in today’s society. Children may barely know one parent, or aunts or uncles, and may never meet a grandparent. Step beyond bad feelings of wrongs done in the past (unless it is abuse, sexual or physical, true abuse not discipline), step beyond the fact maybe your friends are closer to you than your family, step beyond the miles and bring your parents into your children’s lives.
The Young Women in our church ‘adopted’ grandma’s one year. It was so awesome. There were several older ladies that had family out of state. They did a luncheon with the ladies and the young women were soaking in their stories. I remember sitting and just listening to my Great-Grandmother tell stories of people I had never even met. I was mesmerized when she spoke. My daughter recently shocked many when she told a group of young women that she was an adviser to that she loved sitting and listening to her grandparents talk about family stories. The other adults that were her age had told everyone that youth today do not want to hear about old stories. And, she told them not to assume that. They still didn’t believe her. That was a sad state of the youngest generations today; all of those old stories will fade away. This can’t happen. Sit down and interview the older family members. If they live far away, make it a family time and use technology to introduce your children to older relatives that live far away. The children WILL make sure that it happens, they will surprise you.
Children learn from older generations. It adds a part of their growth process that can’t be replaced.