I'm going to be a Grandfather at 40
Feb 01, 2016
I am a grandfather at 40 years old.
Right after I graduated from technical school, my wife and I became parents for the first time. I remember wondering what would become of our first little girl. I wondered who she would look like, how she would do in school and what would she be when she grew up. We had nothing to worry about, all we had to do was make sure we did our best and know that life would be alright.
Just over a year into our new adventure, we were expecting our second girl and a couple years after that our third. By the time our third came we were pros at the parenting feats of feeding, clothing, and had even added potty training to our repertoire. Again, as each one came into the world I wondered what would things be like as we grew as a family. Again, I wondered at what will they do and who will they be. After having a third girl in just over four years I soon realized that I would eventually have three girls all in their teens… all at the same time. Of course, everyone else was quick to point that out as well. I have lost count of how many times I have had people ask me, “do you have a gun yet?” or kindly state the obvious by saying, “wow, you’re going to be busy when they grow up”.
Our youngest just turned 12 and it hasn’t been so bad so far, minus the arguing and bickering. Both of which are part and parcel of parenting a tween. The only thing I regret is introducing new technology into our family lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, advances in technology have their places and advantages, but within a family unit is not one of them. I fear a lot of kids these days spend way too much time in front of a screen. Whether it’s watching television, playing video games, on their phones or even binge watching on Netflix. Then there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. It seems that parents either don’t realize the damage and dangers involved with this or they don’t care. I certainly hope it isn’t the latter.
The day the news hit us that our 16 year old daughter was pregnant, we questioned everything we had done as parents. Was this our fault? What did we do wrong? Turns out it isn’t what we were doing, I think it’s what we weren’t doing. As our kids grew up they played outside and we watched them and life was good. Then as computers, the internet, gaming consoles, and mobile devices became more on-trend and accessible in society, more people began using them. Parents and kids became hooked on the computer, internet, and mobile devices. Checking their Facebook or Instagram account to see how many “likes” their latest selfie got became the new addiction, and phones are glued to their hands at all times.
Somewhere the relationship between parents and their kids separated, leading to a potentially dangerous situation where parents have no idea what their kids are doing online. One of our daughters revealed on Facebook that she is now in a relationship with some guy we have never heard of. Upon questioning her about it she revealed that she had met him through Instagram. She had no idea who he was but it was ok to her because he sent her a picture of himself and told her he was the same age as her. RED FLAG! Parents, the time is now. You need to make time to spend with your kids. Play together, laugh together, eat together, cry together, but most important of all to talk together. Talk about the good things they may encounter, as well as the bad things they may encounter. Talk about the decisions they may have to one day make and educate them with enough knowledge to make the right decisions in life. Because some decisions may affect the rest of their lives and yours.
My kids are great kids who just made a couple bad decisions. I don’t blame society, schools, or technology. Heck, I am not even sure I blame our parenting. But the fact is it doesn’t matter now, because placing blame isn’t going to change anything. What matters now is moving forward, and learning from what’s happened. What matters now is taking it one day at a time with grace and love, knowing that one moment in the wrong direction doesn’t have to mean an un-happy ending, knowing that we are resetting and heading in the right direction together.
By Jason. Dad to Three Girls and about to be a very young grandfather.