Dear Grandparenting: We have been blessed with four terrific grandchildren. Each year we have taken one grandchild to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for the weekend. Being the youngest in the family (he is 9 now), Brad was on tap to go next. Then my husband got his hours cut at work and we had to circle the wagons. We are not in a financial position to take anybody to Disney this year.
You can imagine how Brad took the news. “Not fair!” he screamed. And who can really blame him? I began to explain how life is not fair but he is too young to understand that right now. All he knows is that he got the short end of the stick. Do you have any miracle cure for our grandson? It’s nobody’s fault, but I still feel guilty. Goldy Lewis, The Villages, Florida.
Dear Goldy: If you want fair, look for the place with a Ferris wheel and a midway carnival. Grandchildren define fairness differently than we do. They equate “fair” with “equal.” And they start thinking about what’s fair and what’s not much earlier than one might imagine. Studies show that 15-month-olds react to witnessing unfair behavior.
It is common for small children to protest they are not being treated fairly. Often it’s because they are not getting what they want. That’s certainly not the case in this situation. Fairness usually emerges as a major issue in big households. As the baby boy of the family with three older siblings, we’re pretty sure Brad already knows plenty the short end of the stick. It probably drove him crazy with anticipation listening to the older children compare notes about their adventures in Disney World.
The youngest of the litter have to be tough just to survive. Brad is probably resilient and should bounce back sooner than you think. But since you’re determined to make amends, here we go. Tell him you are postponing, not cancelling Disney World. Then give him this choice. He can either wait to go to Disney, hopefully at some not too distant date, or do something else of his choosing instead. Florida has a wealth of attractions — other theme parks, college and professional sports. By our reckoning, weekend admission to Disney World for three, plus food and lodging, could cost an easy $1,100, assuming you buy your lodging outside the park grounds. You can show Brad a good time for a fraction of that sum. We suspect he’ll take your offer, since young grandchildren seldom think long-term. Your grandson will be grateful and you come out ahead money-wise. How’s that sound?
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Mal Johnson from Marshall, Michigan, received a “wonderful compliment” from granddaughter Beth, 6. “She told me I was old on the outside but still young on the inside.”
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.