The following is an excerpt from the book
Grandparenting: Renew, Relive, Rejoice.
“Respond from the center of the hurricane, rather than reacting from the chaos of a storm.”
You may have found yourself “reacting” to a stressful situation with yelling or inappropriate language, instead of “responding” calmly. Later you realize you could have handled things differently. You’re not alone. Next time, try this:
- Breathe. Count to four as you inhale. Then count to four as you exhale.
- Begin to slow down.
- Think about what is happening right now.
- Create a space between your feelings and your behavior.
- Think again and decide how to proceed.
- Do you feel calmer and more centered? Hopefully, pausing has given you more clarity on how to respond.
- Now, respond.
- This is a great tool to practice and teach your grandchildren, especially when you or they are having a meltdown.
“A few months ago, I spent several hours with my seven-and-a-half-year-old grandson, Sam. When I took him home, I brought snacks for his younger siblings and fruit for his family. Out of the blue, Sam says to me, ‘Gaga, you do everything for us. I want to do something for you.’ That is the first time I had been acknowledged by him for anything I have done. I’ve recently heard that empathy begins at around seven years. Sam now tells me frequently that I do so much for his family and he wants to do the same for me. It melts my heart.”
“It was a Sunday night dinner and the whole family was together. Elisabeth, one of our 3 daughters, was making fun of me (as usual), and my granddaughter, Sadie, stopped her and said, “Aunt Lizzy, when you make fun of GG (me), it hurts my feelings because GG and I are the same person.’” ~GG