Dear Grandparenting: I want to share an interesting discussion I had with my 14-year-old grandson. I cannot remember how we got started, but it boils down to this.
I said something like what a thrill it would be to become 14 again. He turned right around and said it’s better to be in your “golden years” (like me) if your health is good (like me).
I bet most grandparents would leap at the chance to ride back in the time machine 50 years or so to when they were teenagers.
You know what I was thinking. Instead of looking at the long decline ahead, I would have my whole life in front of me. My grandson thinks the world is going to self-destruct and my generation will be the last to know what it is like to feel secure. I think that’s crazy talk. No one can ever know what tomorrow brings. What is your opinion? Trisha Johnson, Kingsport, Tennessee
Dear Trisha: Your question is good food for thought, with something to be said for both sides of the equation.
Your grandson’s contention has some merit. His generation stands to inherit a world of uncertainty. According to numerous public surveys, a majority believes the American Dream is broken, signaling a future with lower standards of living.
Only grandchildren from privileged families can reasonably expect to equal or surpass the standards of living enjoyed by their parents and grandparents. And if student debt, a challenging job market and economic insecurity are not enough, looks like they’ll also have terrorism, pandemics and global warming to worry about.
So we wonder how many grandparents share your appetite for taking a second whack at youth. They may be feeling their age, but many find that golden years really are golden. They don’t wish to swap places with anyone. National polling data consistently indicates that older Americans are the happiest of all age groups.
Instead of thinking about trading places, we try to make the best of what’s at hand. The folks at Pew Research have confirmed what we’ve known all along. In response to an open ended question, more than half of those 65 and older said what they value most about getting older is spending more time with their grandchildren.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Art, of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, reports that grandson Sean, 7, “brought the house down” at the golden wedding anniversary of Art and wife Valery.
The toasts had been flying fast and furiously when Sean, 7, rose to speak.
“The secret to their long marriage,” he began, “is that neither has died.”
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.