Here we go again with our highly subjective, non-scientific review of the year that was, the best and worst of 2018:
Best technology news: Since grandchildren spend upwards of eight hours a day using Internet-driven devices, our column often comments on the downside of technology’s control over youth. But according to recent research from the University of Michigan, grandparents who use the Internet reduce their risk of depression by one-third. And there’s no better way to stay in touch with grandchildren. They live online.
Best role model: Countless grandparents are deserving of this tribute, but you could do worse than Justin Timberlake or Jennifer Lawrence, two seemingly sensible, mannerly stars.
Worst role model: We’re thinking of retiring 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 move.
Best advice: There’s a whole lot of stress going around, especially over the holidays. Remembering the good times — even isolated incidents or past accomplishments — is a proven way to stay happier as we age according to several studies.
Best non-traditional terms of endearment: Move over “Gramps” and “Granny.” Traditional grandparent names are falling out of favor with Baby Boomers in the fast lane, since it makes them feel old. Are you ready for “Granddude” or “Grandbabe”?
Worst new data: A good third of Americans are pretty clueless about their heritage, unable to name their four grandparents, where they were born or what they did.
Best believers: The great majority of grandchildren still believe that Santa Claus is coming, according to people who study such things. Children’s belief in Santa begins around age 4 and ebbs at age 8.
Best timing: According to the Federal Reserve Bank, America’s grandparent generation had the unprecedented good fortune to benefit from steadily rising wages, securities and home values and were also among the first eligible for Social Security and Medicare.
Worst timing: Grandchildren are dipping into their grandparents’ pockets like never before. Generosity is an admirable trait, but don’t wind up in the poorhouse. Think twice before you sign onto educational loans.
Best news that bears repeating: Two studies confirmed the benefits of a close grandparent-grandchild relationship. Boston College researchers found that maintaining emotionally close ties reduced depressive symptoms in grandparents and mature grandchildren. Another study found that younger grandchildren experience fewer emotional, behavioral or bullying problems.
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.