Welcome to a place where we can share ideas about grandparenting, especially ways to pass spiritual values and family stories to the next generation.

Mary is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart.
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Co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild's Heart

Friday, June 22, 2012

Let's camp out

Friday's  Grand Connection Fun
by Mary May Larmoyeux

Summer is officially here and Saturday, June 23, is National Wildlife Federation's Great American Backyard Campout. So, this weekend could be a great time to take the grandkids camping at a State park or in your own backyard.

When I was growing up, we spent most of our free time riding bicycles, playing outdoor games, and even stretching out on the grass—using our imaginations to identify the shapes of overhead clouds. Some looked like mountains while others appeared to be fluffy balls or bears. It's no secret that kids today spend much of their spare time in front of the computer or glued to an I-phone.

Did you know that kids who spend a lot of time outside are more creative than those who don't?  Well, I learned some things as I read some facts found on the National Wildlife Federation's website for kids:

  • Children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001)
  • Today, kids 8-18 years old devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media in a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). (Kaiser Family Foundation)
  • In a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own. (Children & Nature Network, 2008)
  • Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration. (Burdette and Whitaker, 2005; Ginsburg et al., 2007)
  • Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008)
  • The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11. (Wells and Lekies, 2006)

What ideas do you have about encouraging our grandkids to enjoy and appreciate the wonderful world that God has made? If you go camping with the grandkids (this weekend or sometime later), I'd love to hear about it! Just comment below or send an e-mail to mary@marymaywrites.com.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. (Psalm 19:1-2)

Happy camping,

© 2012 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo Courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

Friday, June 15, 2012

The children of my children

Tuesday's  Grand Connection Thought

by Mary May Larmoyeux

Not too long ago, my then four-year-old grandson said something that just melted my heart. I was driving his big sis and him to a local farm to see some animals. "Nana," he said from the backseat of the car, "I love you!"

"Well, I love you, too," I answered with a sigh in my heart.

Leah Johnson's poem below, "The Children of My Children," captures the love of a grandmother for her precious grandchildren as they make special memories together. (Leah's poem was the third place winner of the poetry contest that I sponsored in memory of my father. Entries were to include a reference to a grandparent or grandchild.)

The Children of My Children
by Leah D. Johnson

The children of my children, in so many ways,
Remind me of so many bygone days;
Of days long ago, when we did without
Or just made do with what we had about.
The days when a box, or a stick, or a flower,
Could captivate and enthrall us, hour upon hour.

The box became a fort; the stick, a sword;
The flower a symbol of beauty adored.
From fort to castle, to safe hideaway;
From sword to wand to keep evil away.
The flower remains, its petals, torn,
Wilted and tossed aside, sad and forlorn.

Yet the children of my children continue to play,
And find another box, another stick, another day.
Yesterday's flower died, you see,
But today there's another, they picked it for me.
It's always the most beautiful I've ever put to my nose;
Whether a daffodil, a random weed, or a rose.

So I'll save them a box, or a really great stick,
And I'll plant lots of flowers so there are plenty to pick.
We'll take long walks and look for lizards and rocks.
If they walk in the creek, I will carry their socks.
I pray they'll have good memories of these days,
When the children of their children find a stick, and play.

Does this wonderful poem bring back any memories to you? Perhaps special memories of wildflower or weed bouquets?

On Father's Day, why don't you ask the grandfathers in your life if they have any special memories of the children of their children?

Thank God for fathers,
Mary Larmoyeux

Poem "The Children of My Children" © 2011 by Leah D. Johnson. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Photo and article © 2011 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Those who honor Me I will honor."

Tuesday's Grand Connection Thought
by Mary May Larmoyeux

Before long the Summer Olympics will be here. During past Summer Olympics, I really enjoyed seeing videotapes of Olympic greats Eric Liddell and Vanderiei de Lima.

You’ve probably heard of Liddell who was portrayed in Chariots of Fire. A committed Christian, he refused to run the 100 meter race on a Sunday in the 1924 Olympics. However, he later ran in the 400 meter event and surprised the world when he won. It is said that he was given a slip of paper before his 400 meter race with a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30, “Those who honor me I will honor.”

Like Liddell, de Lima has become somewhat of a legend himself. In the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece, he appeared to be on his way to becoming the first Brazilian to win an Olympic gold medal in the men’s marathon event. However, less than five miles before the finish line, a spectator intentionally pushed him into the crowd. Amazingly, de Lima did not give up. He continued the race and finished with a bronze medal.

De Lima said that he was “happy” to have won the bronze medal. From the videotape that I watched, it appeared that he didn't focus on what could have been. Instead he was grateful for what he had somehow accomplished. The 2004 International Olympic Committee awarded him the Pierre de Coubertine medal for sportsmanship. Although de Lima did not win the gold, his example made him an instant celebrity in Brazil.

If I had been Liddell, I wonder if I would have had his courage to refuse to race on Sunday. And if I had been de Lima, I probably would have spent some time complaining about what could have been.

What’s all of this have to do with grandparents? Like us, our grandkids are going to have disappointment in life. But those very disappointments may be stepping stones to God's best for their lives.

I want to tell my grands the stories of overcomers like Liddell and de Lima … and Joshua and the apostle Paul. And, with the grands, I want to memorize the words from 1 Samuel 2:30, "Those who honor me I will honor." May we apply them together to the race God has for our lives.

He is able,

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© 2008 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo © by George Bailey / Dreamstime.com