Spend time with grandparents before heading back to school
There is no “Endless Summer,” despite what the Beach Boys had your parents and me believing back in an earlier century. Sad to say, but just as students are fully into their summer grooves – work and parties, sleeping late and connecting with old friends – it’s back to the books.
Not so fast.
If you’re lucky enough to have grandparents in town, an investment of a few hours right now will pay enormous dividends throughout your family all year. Here are five ways to ensure Grandma and Grandpa remember you when you’re off studying.
1. Surprise them with a visit. If they’re nearby, ride your bike over some night after dinner and just while away the evening with them telling stories and listening to theirs. You’ll be amazed at what you can find out about your family, and they’ll be amazed that all those tuition dollars have taught you enough to value history.
2. Ask them if there’s something you can help them with, a problem you can solve. I like tech for students: It could be as simple as programming a remote, teaching them to text, or setting up automatic bill-paying. Or my all-time favorite: converting a raggedy old address book to a computer contact list, so generating Christmas card labels for them will be a snap when you’re home at Thanksgiving.
3. Interview them. It may take a fib (“I need it for a fall semester class”), but a somewhat structured interview, with prepared questions and a notepad, will tickle your elders, and teach you family lore and interviewing skills. I highly recommend StoryCorps.org for guidance and a means to preserve your work for YOUR grandchildren.
4. Take them to an Indians game, Mitchell’s, or the BAYarts farmers market. Getting out only gets harder for your aging elders, so especially if it takes some prodding, show them a good time out on the town. Just remember to leave early, walk slowly, and be mindful of fall-prevention ... and dignity. Hover, don’t grab.
5. If you’re pressed for time as the summer sets, here’s an easy one that takes just five minutes: Click on your calendar app, or crack open that shiny new assignment planner. Pick a number from 1 to 30, and enter an appointment on the same day for September through May: “Call Grandma and Grandpa.”
One simple call, just once a month. They’ll love it, and so will you. And when the word gets out in the family, for one brief shining moment your own folks will know they’ve done well raising you. Those of us with school-age kids need that feeling now and then.
Mike Nock is the founder of Thrive Westshore (www.thrivewestshore.com), which enhances the lives of retirees. Previously he was founding director of an entrepreneurship program at Baldwin-Wallace University, and co-founder of Nock Inc, which for 23 years published customized nightly newsletters for institutional portfolio managers. Mr. Nock is a graduate of Williams College and St. Ignatius High School, and lives in Bay Village with his wife and two teens.