Dear Grandparenting: Our glorious summertime has arrived, and I am in absolute heaven. I love getting outside and taking walks, doing my gardening, sitting by the brook and listening to the water running, reading outside in the afternoon sun. Mother Nature is the greatest show on earth. As far as my grandson David (age 12) is concerned, it might as well be the dead of winter. His idea of getting outdoors is going from the house to the car. The first thing he does is complain about how it’s too hot or too cold. Happens every time.
David shows little or no interest in anything that doesn’t connect him to the Internet or allow him to play another video game. His comfort zone is a hermetically sealed room, with that pale and pudgy face glued to gadgets.
I know he’s not the only one. But it’s so pathetic how David’s generation is so content doing little or nothing that resembles outdoor activity. They’re missing out on healthy exercise and the greatest show on earth. Will it ever stop? Thank you for hearing me out. Margaret Berry, Ithaca, New York
Dear Margaret: Are modern grandchildren the most sedentary generation ever? You won’t get any argument from us. According to multiple studies, America’s teens spend an average of eight or nine hours each day using their various digital technology devices, not counting school work, leaving little time for anything else. Adolescents are not far behind. Like other developed nations, America is producing a bumper crop of pale and pudgy grandchildren. Is it a total aversion to nature and exercise, or a matter of priorities and convenience? We vote for the latter.
Peer groups are generally the dominant influence in the life of 12-year-olds. The trick is finding a nature-loving youngster who can coax your grandson from his cocoon, or wait until the peer group changes and hope for the best. The future of this planet depends in some measure on our children. They ought to get outside and learn to appreciate it.
Grand remark of the week
Howard Short from Kingsport, Tennessee sends along this remark he loves from the late humorist Sam Levinson:
“The simplest toy ever invented, one even the smallest grandchild can operate, is called a grandparent.”
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.