EP – 56 Traditions and Rituals

Our conversation about the importance of traditions and rituals with grandkids

This week’s episode is another conversation just between the two of us. In this conversation, we talk about the importance of traditions and rituals. We can use traditions and rituals to create stronger family bonds and bonds between grandfathers and grandchildren. Rituals are those details that are part of traditions. An example of a ritual is that grandma and the grandchildren ALWAYS work together to bake an apple pie for Thanksgiving dessert.

No matter your traditions and rituals in your family, be aware that these activities are essential to the grandchildren and the entire family. Grandchildren will learn about their family’s history and values through what you do with your traditions and rituals.

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EP – 55 Space to grow and explore

Our conversation with Thal Dixon

Welcome back to another fun conversation with someone from my past. Thal Dixon is a good friend of mine from our High School days. Thal is sitting down with us to have a conversation about his interesting and entertaining Grandpa Penrod.

Thal discusses how no matter where his family moved, his Grandpa and Grandma were a constant in his life. We even hear about how when Thal was going to school in Idaho he had his own room at his grandparent’s house. Thal also talks about the closeness that he had with his grandfather and how his grandfather allow Thal to grow and develop into the man he is today.

As we wrap up our conversation, we discuss Thal’s passion for poetry and writing children’s books. Thal shares how he was inspired as a young student in Hawaii by a classroom visitor who shared his poetry with Thal’s class. Today, Thal is going into classrooms to share his art and passion for writing.

Once you have listened to this conversation, be sure to like and share this podcast with a friend. Sharing with friends is the best way you can help to share this positive message about the influence of grandfathers.

Links

Thal’s Amazon author page

Thal’s “About Page”

Thal’s YouTube channel

Grumpy Publications Facebook Page

Grumpy Publications Website

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EP – 54 I Don’t Want to Turn 3

Our conversation with Gramps Jeffrey

Our conversation is with Gramps Jeffrey. Gramps Jeffrey is a children’s book author and grandfather of six. Gramps looks at the world through the lens of what has changed and evolved since he was a kid.

We discussed his book, I Don’t Want to Turn 3, and what inspired him to write this exciting and entertaining book. We talk about how important it is to read to our children and grandchildren. Reading is not simply a way of bonding with them, but it has also been documented to increase a child’s listening skills, build a varied vocabulary, and lengthen their attention span.

Let us know in the comments below what your Ah-Ha or big takeaway was from this conversation.

Be sure to check out Gramps Jeffrey’s website (link listed below) and his book.

Remember to like and share this conversation with a friend. Sharing is the best way to help support our message of the importance of grandfathers in the lives of their families.

Links

Gramps Jeffrey – Website

Gramps Jeffrey’s email address is: grampsjeffrey@gmail.com

“I Don’t Want to Turn 3” – Online purchasing options

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EP 52 – Bonus Show – Creating Halloween Fun with the Grandkids

Our conversation with Uncle Rog

Ever wonder who those people are that go over the top at Halloween and have the best home haunt in the neighborhood? Meet Nationally recognized home haunt and prop designer expert Roger Hayes.

Order your drink and pull up a chair so you can join my conversation with Roger as we catch up about all things Halloween. Rog is an old friend of mine with whom I have had many adventures. Some adventures we even tell our wives about. So, come on, pull up a chair, and join us for some great conversation.

Roger and I cover basic grandkid costume safety, as well as general, trick-or-treat safety with the grandkids. BTW, Roger prefers makeup to masks. Roger also talks about how grandpas can give the neighborhood and community haunted house the ‘stiff test’ for fun and SAFETY before taking the little grand ghosts and grand goblins through a home haunt.

You would be surprised about the little details that can tip you off too if the home haunt is safe, professional, and likely to be an enjoyable experience for the grandkids.

Roger and I also talk about a few arts and crafts projects that grandpas can do with the grandkids. These arts and crafts projects can become a cool tradition that the kiddos get to do with grandpa each fall. We both agree that the artifacts that the kids make are going to become treasured memories of their time spent with their Cool Grandpa.

Roger is super talented as you will see when you visit his website and view the pictures below. All of the artwork that you see is original and comes from the genius of Roger’s mind.

Here are the links to Roger’s site and some cool pictures of Uncle Rog’s tombstone work.

Hayes Haunt

Roger’s Halloween Coloring Book

Hayes Haunt YouTube Video

Roger's Hayes Haunt Logo
A great example of one of Roger's tombstones for the NW Haunters Association
Roger's buddy, Harold Weir, with his personalized tombstone

EP – 51 Talking about Mental Health with Our Grandchildren

Our conversation with Dr. Gene Beresin, MD, MA

Our guest is Dr. Gene Beresin. Gene is a great guy and is working hard with the devoted staff of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. According to the center’s about page, The Clay Center “…is a free, practical, online educational resource dedicated to promoting and supporting the mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being of children, teens, and young adults.”

I knew that Gene would be the perfect guest to talk about how grandparents can be part of helping grandchildren through emotional and mental health issues. In this conversation, we talk about the importance of building connections with our grandchildren. If problems arise, they and their parents feel comfortable including us in the difficult discussions around emotional health issues.

We discuss how being open with our emotional challenges can lessen the awkwardness and shame that children and others can feel when dealing with mental health issues. Gene and I also talk about the recent revelations from gymnast Simone Biles about withdrawing from the Uneven Bars and Vault in the 2021 Summer Olympics. Simone started to not feel like she was mentally able to compete and was dealing with a phenomenon known as the “twisties.” We both agree that having public discussions about mental health can and should go a long way in helping our grandchildren. We believe that the grandchildren need to know that they are not alone when they are experiencing challenges themselves and that hopefully, they will feel safe enough to talk to someone, including their grandparents.

Gene and I also talk about the grandfather’s role and how we, as grandfathers, are the keepers of the family narratives. Grandfathers offer a profound bridge to the past that can inspire and entertain our grandchildren. We often hold a hundred years or more of family history in our memories from our discussions with our grandparents.

You will be sure to enjoy this conversation. When you finish listening to Gene and me, be sure to check out the links below and leave us a comment about your big takeaway from our conversation.

Helpful Links

The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds

Gene Beresin, MD, MA – About Page

The Value of Being a Grandparent: 7 Ways to Support Your Family’s Emotional Health – A great article written by Gene

Shrinking It Down: Mental Health Made Simple – The Clay Center’s Podcast (They will be starting season 5 very soon, be sure to check out their podcast!)

Sara Rattingan – Super Star Communication Specialist who helped to get Gene and me together. Thanks, Sara!

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Adulting 101

EP – 50 New roles

Our Monthly One on One

“I’m in a place in my life where I get offered parts that I didn’t get offered before – fathers and uncles and grandfathers and so on. And it took me a long time to get to that place, but I’m glad because it opens up new territory.” – Christopher Walken

The episode is a one on one conversation with me and you. In this conversation, I discuss how we are taking on new roles even at our age, and this is a good thing. Men heading into their “grandpa years” should be looking to take on new roles.

Regardless of your age, when taking on a new role, we should all be looking to do the following:

Seek Support

Talk to other experts and those who have held the position longer than you have. Seeking out support is a two-part exercise. We want to get ahold of experts who can tell and show us how this new role should or can function. Two, we need our network to beware of what we are doing and what new roles we are taking on to support us and, most importantly, encourage us as we grow through learning our new role.

Get More Education

Just because we have seen a lot and experienced a lot to this point in our lives does not mean that we should stop learning. When you hit your middle-age years, some would say that learning is something you only do on an “as needed” basis. I say, though, that learning should be part of your everyday life. The Cool Grandpas that I know are always learning. Indeed, education is critical for new roles, like Scout Master, Assistant Baseball Coach, or even the lead shift supervisor at the local food pantry. For example, you may never have had to work with non-paid volunteers. How do you keep non-paid people engaged and showing up every time with their “A game”? I bet there is a book, a podcast, or course on leading volunteers.

Rebrand Yourself

We all have a brand. It is what people think about you, how they have labeled you. To be fair as well, it is what we also think of ourselves. When we take on new roles, we have a great chance to “rebrand” ourselves. If you have not been very outgoing in the past but you volunteer to run intake processing functions of the local food pantry, you will need to stretch yourself to become more outgoing. Taking on a new role is a great chance to educate your family and friends about your new role and help them start to think of you differently. YOU can help them see the shift in yourself and the growth you are undertaking and, as a result, change your brand.

What new roles are you taking on? Where are some areas where you are growing and increasing your knowledge through formal or informal education? How are you changing your brand? Are you directing that brand change, or are circumstances creating a defacto brand?

Please shoot me an email and tell me what roles you are taking on and what changes you are making in your life. You can reach me at greg@cool-grandpa.com

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Adulting 101

EP – 49 Service and Legacy

Our conversation with Sylvia Liu

Sylvia Liu, never met her grandfathers but they have had played an important role in the history of China, and most importantly, they have played a significant role in Syliva’s life through their example and influence on her mother and father. Sylvia sits down with us to discuss her grandfathers, her life as an environmental lawyer, and now as a children and young adult author.

Sylvia’s maternal grandfather was Lieutenant General Fan Hanjie. Lt. General Fan Hanjie was one of General Chiang Kai-shek’s generals and a member of the Nationist Chinese Government. As one of the key military leaders of China, Lt. General Fan Hanjie was awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm, which is the highest award that the U.S. presents to citizens and non-citizens who aided in the war effort.

Liu Yiguang, Sylvia’s grandfather on her father’s side of the family, was a Commander of Intelligence in Chiang Kai-Shek’s army. Liu Yiguang was responsible for the security and house arrest of Zhang Xueliang who was a general that kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek and forced him to sign an agreement with the Communist to halt the civil war and work together to fight the Japanese. Liu Yiguang would guard Zhang Xueliang for more than 25 years both in China and in Taiwan.

Me and Sylvia also dive into her background and upbringing including growing up in Caracas Venezuela before migrating to the United States. We discuss her professional life as an environmental lawyer for the U.S. Government and with several non-profit organizations. We also discuss her transition to being a child and young adult author with a new book, Manatee’s Best Friend, now available.

Links

Sylvia Liu’s Home Page

Sylvia’s blog about her grandfather Lt. General Fan Hanjie (Fan Hanjie (范漢傑) (1894-1976))

Sylvia’s book page (MANATEE’S BEST FRIEND, A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, etc.)

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Adulting 101

EP – 48 Growing Creativity with Grandchildren

Our conversation with Dan Miller

Dan Miller joins us for a fantastic conversation about how to help our grandchildren to think creatively about education, work, and life. Learn about about Dan’s experience and expectations when he learned that he would become a grandfather. Dan was excited and viewed the grandchildren as an extension of the fun and exciting times he and his wife, Joanne, had with their children.

Our discussion then focused on helping his grandchildren learn to hold on to their creativity and passions from childhood to adulthood. We discuss how they use the game CASH FLOW as one of the fun activities that he and Joanne use to help the grandchildren think about how to create wealth.

We also talk about the use of mentors when modeling roles such as being a husband, father, and grandfather. There are many resources available to learn these roles that we take on. Dan and I also talk about how grandfathers or men of the same age group can help reframe experiences that our grandchildren and other youth have. We can help them to think differently about opportunities and find ways to find work that is meaningful, purposeful, AND profitable for them.

Dan talks to us about connecting with the grandchildren on their level and with their interests. By meeting the grandchildren where they are, we help them grow in the way they are ‘bent’ or created and not how their parents or we want them to be. By joining our grandchildren in activities that they enjoy, we as grandparents can learn from our grandchildren.

Be sure to check out the links below for resources that can help you be a Cool Grandpa AND help your grandchildren think creatively about life and work.

Links

48days.com

Dan’s about page

48 Days Eagles Community

The five books that Dan recommends his grandchildren read by the time they are 13 years old:

Acres of Diamonds

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Think and Grow Rich

See You at the Top

The Magic of Thinking Big

Dan’s Books:

48 DAYS TO THE WORK (AND LIFE) YOU LOVE

NO MORE DREADED MONDAYS

RUDDER OF THE DAY – One of my favorites

CLICK HERE to learn about the Game Cashflow that Dan mentioned on the show. This is a game developed by RICH DAD.

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Adulting 101

EP – 46 Be careful with Labels

Our Monthly One on One

Dear Mr. Venon. We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basketcase…a princess…and a criminal.

– Closing monologue, The Breakfast Club (1985)

I love this movie. You can tell that I am a member of Gen X. One of the reasons I enjoy this movie is the lesson of how labels, while sometimes useful, can place people in boxes that is hard for them to get out of. At least in our perceptions of who we think they are.

In this one-on-one conversation, I talk about how grandfathers should avoid using labels when it comes to thinking and talking about their grandchildren. While labels can quickly convey a lot of information in a few words, it limits the person to that one label in our own thoughts.

Talking about or describing attributes within a context or setting is a much better way to think or talk about our grandchildren. Where labels can carry a fixed meaning, discussing attributes lets us talk and think about the parts of the personality or skills that the grandchild has compared to just thinking of them in one term.

Thinking and speaking about our grandchildren’s attributes allow them to grow and develop in our minds and does not keep them locked in as only one personality type or on a set of physical attributes.

While labels themselves are not good or bad, I would like to challenge the grandfathers and grandparents to be careful and avoid using labels and shift to thinking about and discussing the attributes that we want to praise or brag on. By shifting to calling out the attributes to describe our grandchildren, we allow them to evolve, grown, explore, and not stay fixed. After all, these precious little gifts are constantly changing and challenging themselves and their environments.

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Adulting 101

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

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Adulting 101