Dear Grandparenting: It would be the understatement of the year to call my grandson Eric a disappointment. Here is a quick history. When Eric was younger, everything came easily to him. He was probably the best athlete in his class. His grades were always good. He was a little king, or maybe the crowned prince. He was full of confidence and had a great personality. I even talked to him about joining my construction company. Nothing could please me more than to have him take over eventually. I would like to ease back someday and begin to smell the roses.
Eric is now 17. When something is too hard for him he drops it like a hot potato. He is a quitter with a capital Q. He starts and stops, starts and stops. When I ask his parents about why he changed, they sort of shrug. They hope he’ll snap out of it.
In my humble opinion, perseverance is what separates the winners from the losers. I could have thrown in the towel a dozen times when I started up my business. My motto is never give up. It kills me to see Eric throw his promise away. I hear that more grandkids are growing up being wishy-washy and taking the easy way. In your opinion, is this true? Pappy, Marshall, Michigan.
Dear Pappy: Life takes strange twists. Your grandson got to smell the roses right off the bat, while you are still waiting after a long and successful career. Now that his age group has caught up with him, is it any wonder he seems lost? When he was in his glory, all he thought he had to do was smile. Now he has to acquaint himself with the critically important skill of sticking to it.
The power of perseverance is no mystery to grandparents who built America into the richest and most powerful nation on earth in the decades after World War II. Numerous social commentators nowadays are alarmed by the deficit of true grit among grandchildren who inherited the fruits of their labors. Observers are fond of remarking that our grandchildren live in the golden age of instant gratification. They flit from this to that, taking their pleasure in small doses at the expense of the joys of mastery and command that result from knuckling down and applying oneself with single-minded purpose. Others believe the trend toward rewarding children merely for doing what’s expected acts as a disincentive against developing the overdrive to push through problems.
Yes, bailing out is on our national radar. Knowing when to walk away and replace an extremely challenging goal with one more attainable can be a step in the right direction, say psychologists. Sometimes it takes more courage to quit than to keep on keeping on, beating one’s head against the wall. Forward momentum builds confidence.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Tara Thomason of Orlando, Florida, was amused when granddaughter Kelly began holding her arms in the direction of the hour and minute hands when Tara’s grandfather clock struck the hour.
“She told me she was pretending to be a granddaughter clock,” said Tara.
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