Best and worst of 2016


2016 is history, so here we go again with another of our very unscientific, highly subjective looks back on the best and worst of the year that was:

GREATEST GRANDPARENTS EVER: Hail to the Boomers, the Baby Boom generation (born between 1946-1964) that constitutes a majority of today’s grandparents. According to author Lori Bitter, boomer grandparents devote more time, energy and money on grandchildren than previous generations. Does that entitle grandparents to be considered the greatest?

BEST WAY TO KEEP ON SMILING: When you’re feeling down and the grandchildren aren’t around to cheer you up, remember the good times. People who study these things say that recalling personal moments of joy and accomplishments is the best method of beating the blues.

BEST TECHNOLOGY NEWS: Since it consumes on average eight hours of their every day, our column often considers the corrosive effects of social media digital technologies on grandchildren. But according to research from the University of Michigan, grandparents who use the Internet reduce their risk of depression by one-third. If that isn’t reason enough to get online, there’s no better way to stay in touch with grandchildren. That’s where they live.

WORST TOY: Always hotly contested, this year’s winner is a toss-up between the Slimeball Slinger (potential for serious eye injury) and The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch (potential for significant puncture injury). Who thinks up those crazy names?

BEST STATE(S) FOR GROWING GRANDCHILDREN: It’s Minnesota, according to a study by the respected Annie E. Casey Foundation that tracked economic, educational, health and family/community trends between 2008-2014 that impact child welfare. Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, Iowa and New Jersey are among states that also scored well.

WORST CELEBRITY ROLE MODEL: We’re this close to shutting down this category because the Kardashian clan is simply too good at behaving badly. Superficial, self-absorbed and materialistic as they are, millions of impressionable grandchildren hang on their every utterance.

BEST CHILDREN’S BOOK NEWS: We’ve always put great stock in the power of books, and multiple sources indicate that more grandchildren are learning to love digital books and acquiring the reading habit. Here’s a surprise: According to Pew Research, grandparents and other seniors over age 65 are the least likely book readers.

WORST FINANCIAL TRICKERY: Law enforcement authorities are all too familiar with the grandparent scam, whereby someone pretending to be your grandchild convinces you to send money immediately because of some dire unexpected emergency. Some predict one in five grandparents will be actively targeted.

By Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.Reach

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