Humana-Medicare airs a delightful TV commercial that shows a collage of scenes featuring young children with their grandparents. The children’s ages appear to range from four to eight. While the tune “To Know Him is to Love Him” is playing softly in the background a child in each scene utters a one-liner exalting his or her love for the attending grandparent.
One perky little girl says “Grandma is my best friend” while another child declares, “Grandpa is cool.” In my favorite scene a small boy sitting beside his grandpa at the bowling alley is holding a bowling ball that probably weighs more than he does. Just before the child stands up and tosses the ball down the lane he exclaims, “This is how grandpa and I roll!” Kudos to the creators of that commercial. It is the best!
Children as young as those in the Humana commercial often hold a fondness for their grandparents that is second only to the love for their parents, particularly if the grandparents live nearby. During their early grade school years we grandparents lose count of how many times we receive a phone call asking, “Grandma, can I come over and spend the night?” A bond that is cemented from birth doesn’t lessen as the grandchild grows older, sometimes it just seems that it does.
Obviously, as our grandchildren reach puberty their attention veers outside the family to other things. If you are a grandparent, unless you are currently experiencing a senior moment, you can recall that it happened to you, too. Aside from the obvious attractions — or some would say distractions — that capture the attention of today’s preteens and adolescents, grandparents have to compete with video games, computers and other technology. If we want equal time, then we have to be creative. Just inviting them to our home with guilt-inducing comments like, “You haven’t been here in weeks.” won’t work. Be resourceful. Level the playing field. If your grandchildren are like mine, then they are almost always on the computer. Send them an IM or email saying, “Come over this weekend and we’ll eat pizza and play Scrabble Slam.” Okay, maybe Scrabble Slam isn’t appealing enough. One thing that will surely bring them scurrying to your door — send a text message saying “Hey Sweetie. I just bought the newest action Wii game. OMG it is awesome!”