EP – 45 The examples we set

My conversation with Frank Pomata

In this conversation, Frank Pomata, aka Baba, sits down with us and talks about the impact and relationship with his grandfathers. We first learn about Carl (Carmello) and Anthony (Grandpa Tony) and what these two very different people did with Frank growing up in Brooklyn, NY. Frank had the interesting experience of living upstairs from his Grandpa Carl.

With Grandpa Carl, Frank became his driving buddy and was exposed early on to what goes on in an office environment. Frank learned some of the basics of being in an office in this environment, such as answering a phone and taking messages properly. Frank also learned some of the basics of making an office environment work.

With Grandpa Tony, Frank learned that there was a large world outside of New York through reading Grandpa Tony’s National Geographic magazines. Grandpa Tony eventually gifted Frank his own subscription and cultivated an appreciation for learning that Frank still enjoys to this day. We get to hear some great stories about Grandpa Tony, including how he loved the music of Pete Fountain.

Frank also talks about his relationship with his grandson (8 years old) and the bond that they have developed over the years. We learn how Frank is intentionally working on taking an interest in his grandson by getting down on the floor and playing with him and even finding that his grandson is igniting a former passion of Franks; collecting Hot Wheels cars.

We talk about Frank’s attitudes about how grandfathers today can change and be more engaged with their grandchildren and family. At the end of our conversation, we talk about Frank’s article (a link is below) and how grandfathers can support their grandchildren and that nurturing is not the sole province of the grandmothers.

Once you have listened to this amazing episode, remember to subscribe and share this podcast with a friend.

Links

Click HERE for Frank’s LinkedIn Profile

Frank’s article: Some Thoughts on the Value of Grandfathers

Affiliate Links

Readeo

Adulting 101

EP – 44 The Addicted Child

My conversation with Rick Capriola

In this important conversation, we sit down with Richard, “Rick,” Capriola to discuss the important topic of adolescent addition. We dive into what addiction means, including the different substances and how they affect the brain differently. Rick and I also talk about how Grandfathers can play an important role in the identification, treatment, and recovery process of a grandchild suffering from substance dependence.

Rick Capriola spent 11 years working as an addictions counselor for Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas, before retiring in 2019. Menninger Clinic is one of the top ten psychiatric hospitals in the United States and specializes in assessing, stabilizing, and treating adults and adolescents with substance abuse and psychiatric disorders.

During Rick’s tenure at the Menninger Clinic, he worked in the Adolescent Treatment program and the adult Comprehensive Psychiatric Assessment and Stabilization program. Working closely with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses, he was responsible for comprehensive assessments and individual and group counseling with patients diagnosed with substance use disorders.

One of the big takeaways from the conversation is the response to the science of what the different drugs and substances do to the brain that impacted the youth that Rick worked with. It was amazing that the reasons for stopping activities had more to do with the science and the behavior outcomes than just about anything else. What was your big takeaway from this important conversation? Be sure to leave a comment or even a question for Rick in the Comments section below.

Remember to subscribe to The Cool Grandpa Podcast if you haven’t already and share this podcast with a friend.

Links

Click HERE to be directed to Rick’s website.

Click HERE to be taken to Amazon to purchase The Addicted Child: A Parent’s Guide to Adolescent Substance Abuse.

Click HERE to be taken to Rick’s workbook, The Addicted Child: Workbook

Sponsor Links

Readeo

Adulting 101 – be sure to use the code: coolgrandpa at check out to receive 30% off your purchase price.

EP – 43 Readeo

My conversation with Aaron Neuenschwander

Please pull up a chair and join Aaron and me for an interesting conversation about a company he started almost ten years ago but is really catching fire today. Aaron and his brother Cody started Readeo to help connect Aaron and Cody’s parents to Cody’s children once Cody moved to Chicago.

Readeo holds several patents on the combination of video conferencing and digital children’s books. The unique way these technologies are combined gives the users an interactive platform to share stories, conversations and strengthen bonds between children and adults.

This is an engaging conversation about how purpose and opportunity have come together to create a product that not only entertains children but also enables long-distance relationships to flourish. It isn’t every day that we come across products and services that multiple generations can use AND are easy to use.

Based on the ease of use of Readeo, the quality of the individuals running the business, and the enjoyment my grandson gets out of our reading together. I am proud to become an affiliate of Readeo. To learn more about Readeo and to start your free trial, click HERE. To make it easy for you, there is an ‘Affiliate‘ menu option on the top of my webpage, where you can also access the link to Readeo.

Links

Readeo

EP – 42 Four activities that do not require a device or application

A conversation with just you and me

This conversation is just with you and me. I share four different activities you can do with your grandchild or anyone, that do not require a smart device or application. These are fun and, most importantly, engaging activities that you can do today.

Collecting

Collecting is a great way to discover what your grandchild is interested in. The grandchildren will naturally want more of whatever they are interested in. It could be toys, pictures, objects, just about anything. The important thing with sharing a collection is the conversation that it can generate. If the grandchild is into sports, there is a natural conversation that can be had about the sports heroes of the grandchild’s generation and the sports heroes of your generation. Whatever your grandchild is into, do a little research and find those interesting points to comparing and contrasting.

Many areas of interest lend themselves to collecting. I mention in the conversation that stamps and coins are likely on the way out with advancing digital society. These two items, in particular, could be areas whereas a grandfather who grew up with coins, stamps, and paper money can introduce an interesting and fading hobby.

Map and Compass

Learning to use a map and compass is not only something that can be fun, and it is a practical skill that every grandchild should know how to do. Teaching a grandchild how to orient a paper map with a compass to find the North will open up how their world is organized. Once a child learns that the North does not always equal ‘up’ or in front of them, their world becomes a little more complex. It also gives the grandchild a way of mastering or understanding their world.

Start easy with your grandchildren, find a map of your local area. I bet you can download or print off a map of your park, for starters. Show them how to orient the map and then create a simple map course that goes to recognizable features. Put a treasure or a reward at the end of the course, remember this should be a fun activity for them. After a few map and compass activities, invite the grandchild to create a course for you to follow. You will have taught them how to find their way if they are lost with a map and compass, giving them confidence and a valuable skill to help them in various situations as they grow up.

Cooking

Cooking is like doing a science experiment that you can eat. Teaching kids to cook can be rewarding and a great way to connect with them. Cooking will lead to conversations about the origins of certain foods and meals, and you can also talk about what the grandchild’s favorite dishes are.

Like all of our activities, it is best to start small and build on successes. Most children are going to want to help and be involved in the creation that they make. Don’t forget that most children will want to show off their creations, so help them learn how to display their cookies or hotdogs. Cooking with grandchildren is a great way to work on math and science. Cooking involves fractions, following instructions, and chemistry. These are great ways to ‘teach’ without the formality of a workbook or chemistry paper. Don’t worry if you are not up to date on all the science of cooking. You and the grandchild can always explore those processes together using different books and websites. The key takeaway here is that cooking is fun, transfers family history, and can be a learning experience rolled up into one activity.

Reading

I am not talking about reading a book to your grandchild, although that is an important and bonding activity. No, I am talking about you and your grandchild(ren) alternate books to read. Think of this as a private book club. You can begin once your grandchild is old enough to read chapter books on their own. Start by asking the grandchild to pick a book, then you both read it by a determined date. For our purposes, let us say one month. During the month, of course, you can discuss the book but pick a date to either in person or remotely plan to discuss the book that they have chosen.

By allowing the grandson or granddaughter to pick out a book, you find out what their interests are. Will they pick out Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical drama? Who knows, but the point is that they are opening up their world of interests and ideas to you, and they are building a connection to you compared to you building that connection. Ideally, you can alternate who picks the books to have the option to stay in the same genre or help broaden their worldview by picking something age and ability appropriate that you enjoy.

Take away

No matter what activity you choose from the list above, YOU will create meaningful and lasting memories with your grandchildren. Each of these activities is a fun way to connect AND either teach your grandchildren new skills or re-enforce what they are learning without using devices or software applications. Instead of complaining about the grandchildren being consumed by the devices, let’s get better at being intentional about showing them how great and fun the world can be without electronics.

Have you done all four activities above? Download the document below for additional device-free activities. Have you found activities that your grandkids will leave the phone behind to do? Leave me a comment below about what activities you do with your grandchildren that do not require devices or software applications.

EP – 40 Good Grandpa

My conversation with Ted Page

Ted Page was tired of the negative messaging about grandpas in popular media when he learned that he was going to become a grandpa. Instead of just complaining about that negative messaging, Ted decided to launch a blog about the positive aspects of being a grandpa and so, Good Grandpa was born.

We sit down for a unique show where Ted and I interview each other about how our lives changed when we found out we were going to become grandfathers. We both have similar journeys with different methods of delivering our messages of the positive impact that grandfathers have in the lives of grandchildren and their families. Ted, writes about his experiences and his views about being a grandfather and I use a podcast platform to create audio content about the value of grandfathers.

During our discussion, Ted shares many impactful and entertaining insights into his role and experience with being a grandfather. One of the biggest takeaways for me was the conversation we had about raising grandchildren to have the courage and strength to express that they respectfully disagree with someone else’s position or opinion. We use the fun example of how great it is when Red Sox and Yankee fans can sit down and have a respectful conversation about baseball and their teams even though you would be hard-pressed to find two groups that “hate” each other. (Although the Dodgers are really the best team) While we use sports as our example, it is important to teach our grandchildren and our families how to get along even when we disagree with one another.

Once you listen to this conversation, come back and leave me a comment or shoot me an email at greg@cool-grandpa.com and let me know what your big takeaway was from this episode.

Links

Click HERE for the Good Grandpa Blog

Click HERE for Ted’s LinkedIn profile

Click HERE for Good Grandpa Blog on Instagram

EP – 39 A Lieutenant General Becomes a Kid Again with His Grandchildren

My Conversation with Lieutenant General (Retired) Ralph Jodice

Welcome back! In this episode of The Cool Grandpa Podcast, we are privileged to have Retired Lieutenant General Ralph J. Jodice II join us and talk about his experience with being a grandfather. Ralph is the father of one of our past guests, Brian Jodice (A link to Brian’s conversation is down below). As you will learn, Ralph is a heck of a guy and another good example of someone who is “doing it right.”

If you thought that Generals could not get down and play with children and become children again through their interactions with their grandchildren, you would be mistaken. As you will find out in this engaging conversation, nothing makes Ralph happier than sitting down and having high tea with one of his granddaughters or playing Legos with one of his grandsons.

As you will learn, Ralph comes from a very close family that he has intentionally passed on to his children and grandchildren. Although Ralph and his wife (affectionately known as Nonna by the grandchildren) may not live close to their children and grandchildren when needed, they deploy to wherever they are needed. Grandpa takes on logistics and supply duties while Nonna takes command of the kitchen. By being intentional with the time they spend, the grandparents and grandchildren build lasting relationships that are part of a long Jodice tradition.

Ralph also shares with us the story of how while serving his country and NATO in Izmir, Turkey, he was able to balance out the news and excitement of his first granddaughter being born. We learn from Ralph that the priorities of Faith, Family, Service can sometimes become out of wack during deployments and the call of duty but that it is important to restore that balance as soon as possible.

There are heartwarming stories and lessons shared in this conversation with Ralph that we can all learn from. My biggest takeaway is the importance of the dining room table. As Ralph talks about, that is where the family laughs, loves, cry, and learns. After you listen to this conversation, be sure to leave your big takeaway in the comments below.

Links:

Lieutenant General Ralph J. Jodice II biography

Brian’s conversation about his grandfathers

EP – 37 Talking Legacy with a World-Traveling Grandpa

My conversation with Scott Paton

Scott Paton is a world-traveling grandpa who, like other new(ish) grandfathers, thinks about the legacy that they will be leaving their grandchildren. Scott and I sit down and discuss his reaction to finding out that he became a step-grandpa and grandpa. Scott, like my dad, became a grandfather through marriage first, then through birth.

I was introduced to Scott by former guest of the podcast, Marc Mawhinney. (Click Here to listen to Marc’s conversation) We go through and talk about how grandfather has the opportunity to be additional sources of support and love to children entering a blended family situation. Through simple acts such as going for walks or going to the park, engaging in conversations about what the new grandchildren are interested in builds a foundation of love and security between the step-grandchildren and step-grandfathers.

Scott has the unique perspective of traveling the world and having a location-independent career. As a result of his efforts to build his online businesses, Scott spends about 9 months of the year traveling the globe. Through his travels, Scott envelopes himself in the culture of the area that he is visiting. Scott searches out the little hole-in-the-wall eateries where only the locals know where to get that one-of-a-kind flavor and experience. He also has a knack for finding those out-of-the-way waterfalls and hiking trails that you can only find when staying in one place for months at a time. All of these travels have allowed Scott to build up a “must show” list of places and peoples that one day he hopes to introduce to his grandchildren.

Through all of our discussions, we touch on the idea of legacy and what we want to leave and do for our grandchildren. Like many of us, the idea of legacy was very abstract and not something that he or I thought about much until grandchildren entered our lives. Since we have received the gift of grandchildren, we are both now thinking in terms of the legacy of travel, experiences, and how we expose our grandchildren to a larger and more interesting world through our travels and experiences.

What idea or topic struck you in our conversation? What type(s) of legacy are you wanting to leave for your grandchildren or children?

Let me know by clicking on the comments button below or by sending me an email at greg@cool-grandpa.com

Links to connect with Scott:

Scott’s Facebook Profile

Scott’s Twitter Account

Scott’s YouTube Channel

EP – 36 A Victorian Grandfather Teaches His Granddaughter the Love of Story Telling

My Conversation with Jeanne Willis

Children’s Author Jeanne Willis sits down with us for a fun conversation about her wonderful grandfather, Fredrick Willis. Fredrick was born in 1895 and was a Victorian who served in the Army in Africa as a Sapper (Army Engineer) during WWI. Jeanne talks about how her grandfather used to joke about losing his helmet while riding in a jeep in Africa. The result, according to Fedrick, was his head becoming burned and his hair falling out. Jeanne, always trying to help and show affection to her grandfather, created many homemade potions to try and restore her grandfather’s hair.

We talk about Jeanne’s early relationship years with her grandfather. Jeanne talks about walking about on stilts and signing Army songs that her grandfather taught her. Fredrick also used to walk to Jeanne’s school with a pocket of sweets to pick up Jeanne and her sister from school. Jeanne shares a wonderful story about capturing caterpillars with her grandfather and credits this experience as the basis of her love of metamorphosis. We also talk about how her grandfather and grandmother would encourage her early storytelling ventures at an early age, including Jeanne using an old typewriter and Jeanne’s sister doing the illustrations.

Jeanne and I talk about how her relationship evolved, including how she thinks that her grandfather missed the granddaughters being little girls. We talk about how we can internally break our grandparent’s hearts as our focus starts to turn from them to our friends and outside interests. Jeanne even went so far as to write her grandfather a heartfelt letter apologizing for growing up and not having the same relationship as when she was younger. We both talk about how children today can be more focused on the screens versus relationships with grandparents.

I ask Jeanne about writing children’s books and how she often has a grandfather character appear in the story without her planning on involving him. In particular, we discuss the fascinating book Stardust. In Stardust, the book is a bit more biographical in nature, where Jeanne’s sister at times received more of the attention, and Jeanne sometimes felt left out. However, in the book, as in life, granddad shares with the little girl about how we are all made of stardust, and we all shine in different ways.

As we wrap up our conversation, Jeanne talks about how her grandfather was her soulmate, mentor, and she wouldn’t have become a writer without him. Jeanne talks about how he is still with her and often bursts right into her writing.

Links:

Jeanne’s Website

Stardust – I highly recommend this book if you have little granddaughters.

EP – 33 Life is short, don’t waste the moment

My conversation with Marc Mawhinney

Marc Mawhinney sits down and has a fun discussion about his grandfather, George Mawhinney, and growing up in Atlantic Canada. Marc’s grandfather was a fisherman and hardworking guy that taught Marc and Matt (Marc’s twin) how to work hard and love baseball.

Marc shares great stories about the connection that baseball has between family members and communities of fans. Through all the up-and-down years that George experienced with the Toronto Blue Jays, we learn that he could live to see the Blue Jays win back-to-back World Series. In this episode, you get to hear a couple of guys talk about the connection that sports have and how the last year of sports with Covid disrupted those connections.

We hear how George named his fishing boat, Mathew and Marc, after his first two grandchildren and how that made Marc feel honored in that way. Marc also talks about how he pulled a ball in his family’s field and busted a window at his grandfather’s house. True to his nature, Grandfather didn’t scold the boys but just chalked it up to boys playing ball. Marc also discusses how his grandfather would take them snowmobiling, and he tells us of a certain race that he, his father, grandfather, and brother took part in. (Don’t inform Marc’s insurance agent about Marc’s street racing past.)

Marc shares with us the story of Marc’s mother prompting Matt and Marc to go over to their grandfather’s garage to say and see what he was doing. Marc talks about how after going over to see his grandfather, his grandfather George was in the hospital the next day and passed away just a few days later. Marc’s grandfather’s passing hit him and his family hard. Years later, Marc used the anniversary of his grandfather’s passing to push himself to launch his daily podcast, Natural Born Coaches, on November 17, 2014.

You will enjoy the interesting and loving stories that Marc has of his grandfather and the impact of his grandfather on his life.

To learn more about Marc and his work with helping people become profitable coaching businesses, check out the below links. You might also want to follow Marc on Facebook to enjoy his “dad jokes” and puns.

Links:

Natural Born Coaches – website

The Coaching Jungle – Facebook Group

Marc Mawhinney – Marc’s Facebook Page

EP – 32 Returning Time

My conversation with Lauren Huff

Lauren Huff is returning time with her grandparents by showing curiosity and interest in their varied and exceptional lives. Lauren is a writer and businesswoman from the California Central Valley. She was fortunate that her grandparents, for the most part, lived close by, which resulted in a close and meaningful relationship. Lauren and I met in Dan Miller’s 48days Eagles community (see link below).

We get into the podcast by finding out about Lauren’s Papa, whose family immigrated from Sicily. We dive into Papa’s interest in history and how his family immigrated from Sicily into New Orleans and migrated to California. His family’s experience is similar to our past guest, Vinnie Tortorich’s family (Click HERE to be taken to Vinnie’s conversation). Lauren talks about how Papa’s stories would not change, but he adjusted the details based on her age and level of understanding.

Lauren also talks about her Grandpa Jerry and his woodworking shop, his love for ‘dad jokes,’ and how she spent a lot of time with him and her grandma, especially around the holidays while Lauren’s parents worked and she was out of school. We hear a funny story about how Lauren acted up as a young girl and then didn’t know how to react when her Grandpa was gently trying to discipline her.

Through all the time and effort that Lauren’s grandparents have poured into her, Lauren has developed the podcast, and blog centered on capturing her grandparent’s experiences. Lauren’s project is titled Returning Time. (See the link below) As I mentioned, the purpose behind Returning Time is to develop a family history that can be shared with other people regardless if they are grandparents or granddaughters, or grandsons. These stories are powerful and interesting conversations that bridge the gaps between generational experiences.

Links:

https://www.returningtime.com/

48 Days – Dan Miller

General Rupertus Part 1

General Rupertus Part 2

Vinnie’s conversation