The value of a new perspective
“I just have to see if I’m good or I’m bad.”
That’s what my 4-year-old grandson told me when I reminded him that he wasn’t supposed to be in our closet. It’s where I keep a stash of activities for those moments when something new and diverting is needed to change the way the day is going. He doesn’t know they are in there, but if he did, he’d soon obsess about the closet. Because, remember, he is four.
Why did he say he had to see if he was good or bad? Well, he wandered into the closet as part of a general, meandering exploration of our bedroom. When I told him to come out, he spotted the mirror on the wall and said the first thing he could think of to explain what he was doing. He does this a lot: he’ll do or say something and then explain it with whatever comes to mind, which is mostly hilarious but often quite profound. It’s one of the reasons I adore this age.
The funny thing is, though, that we actually never stop doing this magical thinking. Even as adults, we find a way to justify a thought or action that, if we were capable of being fully truthful and aware, isn’t honest or rational.
We tell ourselves that it’s okay that we cut in the pickup line at school because we’ve got to get to the meeting on time. We justify buying something we don’t need because it’s on sale. We let the grandkids watch TV past their bedtime and reason that it won’t do any harm.
Consciously or unconsciously, we decide what we want to say or do. If there’s a chance it’s a bad idea, we unconsciously resolve the cognitive dissonance by justifying it. And we never admit that this magical thinking may be causing a problem for ourselves or the people we love.
When I started this blog, my goal was to help you develop a deeper bond with your grandchildren—to be more than grand. The key to this is consciously developing an honest, open relationship with your adult children. This means that in addition to providing ways to connect with your grandchildren, I want to help you find ways to improve your relationship with their parents. It’s important that we first recognize when we are using magical thinking to justify things we shouldn’t be doing.
That's easier for some people than others, and sometimes that means asking for outside help to get a new perspective. We designed New Grandparent Essentials to help provide that perspective. It fosters a dialog that will allow you to examine what you think about some of the most important parts of grandparenting and find out what your grandchild’s parents think about your role. It helps you ask the right questions and listen openly to feedback from your adult children, so that when you look in the mirror, you are seeing yourself more clearly. And when you look in that mirror after completing New Grandparent Essentials, I promise you will like the results.
PS—if you are wondering, after checking in the mirror, my grandson declared he was good. Which was at least 80% true!
Ready to get New Grandparent Essentials? Click here!