Tempus fugit as they say at the Vatican, likely the last place on earth where Latin is spoken conversationally. Yes, time flies, and as we bid 2017 goodbye and welcome in 2018, we take our almost annual look back at some highs and lows of the year that was:
BEST NEWS FOR GRANDCHILDREN: In good times and bad, grandparents deliver. They may be hard up for spare change, but grandparents still overspend on gifts since it’s their perceived role to spoil the grandchildren.
BEST ADVICE: There’s a whole lot of stress going around, especially during the holiday season. 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 BELIEVERS: The great majority of young grandchildren still believe that Santa Claus is coming to town, according to researchers who study such things. Children’s belief in Santa typically begins around age 4 and ebbs around 8.
TOY ALERT: Red flags are being raised over toys that connect to the Internet, even dolls, because hackers can gain control of the technology to spy on children and learn their location. Good grief! What next?
HEAVIEST DUTY: Nearly 3 million grandparents are raising grandchildren, according to government figures, and their ranks are growing. Approximately 25 percent have incomes below the poverty level.
BEST ROLE MODEL: Hopefully a parent or grandparent, but you could do worse than actress Jennifer Lawrence and singer/actor Justin Timberlake, a pair of seemingly sensible, mannerly stars.
WORST ROLE MODEL: A very tough call, given the existing excess of worthy candidates and the weekly pack of newcomers yapping at their heels. Give your grandchild the gift of a strong moral compass.
BEST EDUCATION NEWS: According to new federal data, students report feeling safer in high school as bullying-prevention programs prove positive. And more grandchildren are staying in high school — dropout rates are declining among all ethnic groups.
BEST VALIDATIONS: 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 experienced fewer emotional and behavioral problems and peer conflict like bullying.
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.