A Grandpa's Notebook

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There are more than 60 million grandparents in the United States andtheir numbers are increasing as a portion of the general population.Enormous changes have taken place in longevity and lifestyles sincetoday's older adults were, themselves, young grandchildren. Expertsestimate that there are thirty to fifty thousand living centenarians, upfrom the 1980 estimate of fifteen thousand. Also, centenarians are not asfeeble as they once were; disability rates among older people have beenfalling since the early 1980s.Life expectancy at birth in the United States has increased nearly 30years since the turn of the century, from 47 to about 76. On the otherhand, families are more widely dispersed, successful interaction bygrandparents with their distant grandchildren, whether for geographicreasons or barriers of circumstance, increasingly calls for innovation andimprovisation.A vast store of practical knowledge as well as a culture's lore languishesin almost every family, especially among its elders, more than ready to bepassed along to succeeding generations. An important source for ideasand models for grandparents to meet the needs-and the yearnings-of thisera's grandchildren and children generally are in the observations andexperiences of older adults. It is not up to our young grandchildren tosay what in our life's experiences might be useful or enlightening tothem? If it was up to them, how might they draw it out of us? Aparadox indeed.This is not a child's storybook, although some of the stories, vignettesand essays may interest youth from toddlers to young adults and, fromother perspectives, parents, grandparents, and teachers. The book's intentis to demonstrate one older lay person's approach to fostering interactionbetween generations in the context of family, school and culture.
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