SOLC: Generation Transfer

March 24, 2012

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The below slice is one I captured in my notebook a month ago. It was a special bonding moment. Moments ago, we just returned from the hospital where my father-in-law is. He is awaiting a pace maker on Monday. My kids cherish their grandpa, even when he is gruff around the edges.My eyes look into our living room as my ears are listening intently. It’s not the image I want to retain, but the conversation. Wisdom is being passed down from one generation to the next. These are the moments that make hosting my father-in-law special to our family; he has been living with us for five years.

Dad G may be a little wobbly with a sore back, diabetes and missing toes, but his mind is a wealth of knowledge. My husband often asks his father for advice on topics connected with electricity or maintenance (or cars, economics, remodeling, history, etc). Dad G’s words are a transfer of wisdom.

Today, my husband is talking with his father as our youngest looks on. Each are sharing their opinions and thoughts regarding a favorite topic of interest – guns. I’m not even sure of how the conversation started, but I quickly retrieved my notebook to capture the moment.

Dad G was an avid hunter as a teenager and knows specialty guns. He also served in the Korean War. My husband was talking about one type of gun and its uses, and Dad G would connect that gun to an experience he had. Our youngest was mesmerized. He sat and listened intently, asking questions for a thirst of knowledge. He would nod and interject complimentary comments throughout this discussion. Sixty-seven years span between our son and his grandfather, but at this moment, the eighty year old and thirteen year old are connected. His grandfatherly stories and knowledge are being transferred to his son and grandson, cherishing the moment for years to come.

Even before I’m done typing, the three males have gone to other tasks. They may not hold this discussion as monumental, but I see the lasting benefits. It is these moments, these conversations, these generational transfers that enrich and shape our lives forever.

SOLSC: Stop and Listen

March 17, 2012

I made myself stop and listen. Yes, I hear the birds tweeting outside, but it was the tired amble of my youngest as he came into the room that made me listen.

You see, my youngest is not the verbalizer that his older two siblings are. He’s quiet, reflective, and in general does not expound on his thoughts. He listens. He watches. He participates in conversation when he feels his thoughts are important. It’s not that we don’t value our youngest. He just admires his older brother and would rather listen to his stories than share his own.

I was in the middle of posting a SOLC comment when my youngest came in. I forced myself to look up, smile, and stop typing. It was just a second, but that acknowledgement nudged a conversation, a conversation I am so glad we shared!

“What’s up, Tim?” I asked when he walked in to the kitchen. He shrugged his shoulders. I wanted more than that, so I persisted. “Tired?” I prompted. He nodded. Okay, another try. “Did you enjoy last night? What was your favorite activity last night?” At this, Tim sat on the stairs and smiled, “Basketball, but do we have anything to eat?” I smiled. Yes, food, but his answer was too short for my liking. His two siblings were gone and my husband was at work; it was just the two of us.

“Okay. I want to finish this SOLC comment and then we can go to Subway and I can hear all about last night?,” I proposed, hoping to intrigue him into more conversation. I really wanted to know what he did at the all night youth event. Tim nodded and I finished my thought.

I could have made the sandwiches, but I wanted to seize the moment. I know that Tim knows that I get distracted by doing things, and then I know that he will just forget and move on and I would miss this interaction.

Eating Subway sandwiches, Tim shared about his night, the band, the laser tag, what he liked and who he hung out with. He had time with his older brother and was engaged with friends. He had a great time (yeah!).

And because I stopped and listened,

I had the best listening lunch date with my youngest!