I’ve spent the last month reflecting.

Previously, I talked of a planned road trip with My Grandson (MG). His entry into Grade Six prompted a journey with him to my Grade Six School – Palliser Heights in Moose Jaw.

Five things stood out.

Comparison is King. As a grandfather, I had supposed that MG would be all about learning the lessons I learned while in Grade Six. Not necessarily! His comments were all about the size of the gym, or how his school was better equipped, or even about how my old classroom is now a storage/lunch room/counseling area.

Life in grade six revolves around the known. The struggle is to fit new information into known categories. As he saw the new, compared to the old, then his capacity for change grew!

Establish Benchmarks. Grandpa’s stories will live on in MG’s mind. After a while he began to distinguish the Grandpa Tales from the real thing. He heard me talk about living with the other kids in class, about grade six events that pushed me into writing as a love and hobby, and about creativity needing to be nurtured and not squelched (OK, he wouldn’t put it that way, but he knows I’m still a kid at heart who is always looking for another way to do things).

There is no time in our lives when we are not a model and example. What we say and do will affect others for their lifetime.

Expect Honesty. With gift card in hand, we entered the Temple Gardens Hotel and Spa. Our overnight stay was superb. We had our swim trunks with us and gladly headed to the swimming pool. Within minutes, my grandson had a true revelation. This was no swimming pool, this was a “talking pool.” People sat around, soaking in the minerals, and chatting about all sorts of things. A bit boring. We made our own fun, doing some swimming and secretly eavesdropping.

Often I tend to soften the troubling, or excuse the wrong. In Grade Six you tend to see what is there, not what you wish was there.

Embrace Surprise. MG also accompanied me to visit his great-grandmother. She
is currently in a home for those with dementia. She is well for her age, but not as responsive as when she was chasing seven kids around the house. MG entered the room, smiled pleasantly and introduced himself in such a manner that I was shocked. Although I know his parents have taught him well, he was gracious, not condescending but genuinely interested in her.

No prompting, No set up. Just surprise on my part. And pride.

Exhale. We are in good hands. MG is an ambassador for his generation. The Principal at Palliser Heights had a mother who taught at the school in the late 80’s and early ‘90s. He is carrying on a tradition. I did a little math. His parents may not even have been born when I was in Grade Six – the Principal wasn’t even a twinkle in their eyes.

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