Dear Grandparenting: Spring is breaking and we’re all coming alive again. People are emerging from their winter cocoons and finally getting outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. Mother Nature keeps putting on the greatest show on earth.
My grandson David’s idea of the outdoors is the distance he must travel to get from his house to the car. He must be the laziest lump in the western hemisphere. David has no interest whatsoever in anything outside. The first thing he does when he finds himself outdoors is to complain that it’s too hot or too cold. Happens every time! About the only place my grandson is comfortable is inside his hermetically sealed world with his chubby face staring into some contraption like a computer or cell phone.
I know you’ve heard this all before, but now it’s my turn. It is pathetic how David’s generation (he is 12) is so content doing little or nothing. It’s like they don’t even need their legs for all that much. They’re missing out on healthy exercise and the greatest show on earth. Thank you for hearing me out. Deuce, San Diego, California
Dear Deuce: Are today’s young grandchildren the most sedentary generation ever? You won’t get any argument from us on that point. When grandchildren are awake in this day and age, they are either online or headed in that direction. 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. Adolescents are not far behind.
Getting out into the real outdoors has become so problematic. Wander too far off and you run the risk of dropping off the grid and losing touch. What good are gadgets then? Why go to all that trouble in the first place when tens of thousands of enchanting virtual worlds are just a few computer clicks away?
That’s why America and other developed nations are producing bumper crops of grandchildren resembling pale flabby lumps. It’s not so much an aversion to nature and exercise as a simple matter of priorities and convenience. Your grandson is right in step with friends in his social networks. We bet they have the same habits.
Peer groups are the dominant influence in the lives of 12-year-olds. The trick is finding another young, nature-loving, outdoor enthusiast who can coax your grandson out of his cocoon, or wait until his peer group changes and hope for the best. Otherwise, about the best you can do is to drag your grandson into the great out of doors kicking and screaming.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Eunice Blankenship from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was worried about how granddaughter Shelby, 7, would get along with the new babysitter, a high school student.
“It was all good, Granny,” said Shelby. “She was more interested in playing with me than watching TV or yakking on the phone, just like you are.”
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.