What I Learn from My Grandchildren
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What I Learn from My Grandchildren

Four Atlanta grandmothers learn nuances of contemporary society, from being resilient and open-minded to following a rapper.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Jewish Atlanta grandmothers reveal the lessons they learned from their grandkids.

Sarah Frank learns from her grandchildren’s resilience and flexibility.

Sarah Frank, Mortgage Company President
I am a newcomer to Atlanta, having moved here a few months ago to be near my nine grandchildren, who live in the warm and inviting Atlanta Jewish community. I love the ability to spend quality time doing fun things with all of them, and sometimes we just have fun hanging out together.

My grandchildren are so interesting. One loves to cook, many love doing art, and some play tennis. The most important thing I have learned from my grandchildren is the quality of being resilient in the face of constant change. They are accustomed to frequent changes and to rolling with the punches, and they have become good problem- solvers. Because I am presently going through a lot of changes in my own life, this is an important quality to learn.

Some of my grandchildren are at home, not attending the school they attended for many years. Some of the kids attend school, but on certain days they are on Zoom. However, they never complain about all the changes in their lives. They have adapted to the present circumstances and are able to have fun with whatever their option is in each moment.

I treasure my time with my grandchildren and am grateful to have time to learn with them and from them.

Marsha Londe appreciates that her grandchildren are “smart and savvy.”

Marsha Londe, Request-for-Proposal Specialist
The joke that grandchildren should come first is true! Without responsibility for basic needs and upbringing, grandparents can simply enjoy. I don’t have to organize their lives; their parents are doing a fine job raising sound, savvy women.

Our adorable, funny little girls are older teens now, but the wonder of being with them hasn’t changed. I’ve learned that without any effort from me, they’re kind, loving, inclusive, witty, and interesting. They’ve taught me the nuances of my cell phone, how to use Spotify, and created a video to explain the speaker attachment. At age 4, one granddaughter taught me about self-awareness and self-discipline when she declared herself a vegetarian because “animals are my friends.”

I’ve learned acceptance … of their opinions, perspective, issues and solutions. I’ve always known that being with them, together or individually, means that I’m in delightful company. Best of all, I’ve learned how the human heart can expand to hold all the love available.

Meta Miller became a rapper groupie from her grandchild’s coaching.

Meta Miller, Retired Teacher and Author
My husband and I have 14 grandchildren. Through the years, I have come to learn so much from each of them. My favorite questions to ask them are: What is the worst thing that happened at school this week? Then: What is the best thing that happened at school this week? They have usually been honest and open, and we have discussed a lot about personalities and feelings.

An unexpected grandchild-related “educational” event occurred when a famous rapper moved next door to us. The young man seemed like a low-key, friendly sort, and we would periodically greet each other when we met outside. About two weeks after our new neighbor moved in, one of my teenage grandsons started bringing friends to hang out in our backyard. I thought it was unusual, and then I realized that they were trying to catch a glimpse of the rapper. My grandsons played his songs for me, and I became a follower of his on Instagram. The kids ended up playing basketball with the rapper and sometimes brought him kosher cookies!

I became a rapper groupie because of my grandchildren, and I even learned better ways to use my cell phone. What a gift they have given me!

Lynn Koffsky and her grandchildren “disagree without being disagreeable.”

Lynn Koffsky, Modern Bubbe
I am very blessed to have eight grandchildren who all live on Long Island, in New York. My husband and I usually see them about four times a year. I typically speak to my granddaughters about clothes and makeup, but this year, due to the pandemic, in addition to keeping up with my granddaughters, I was able to speak on WhatsApp to our two older grandsons. No topic was off the table. We spoke about their political views, which not only included the presidential election, but also Supreme Court decisions. We shared interesting shiurim (classes in Judaic subjects) and we talked about life in general.

My grandsons taught me to broaden my interests, and perhaps most importantly, we learned to disagree without being disagreeable.

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