What an adventure when the grandfather took his time and showed the children the hiding places in the forest, of foxes and badgers, when the best location for a tree house was sought and the children were allowed to enter the hallowed halls of the workshop, of course only under the strict one look and the expert guidance of the grandfather. Building birdhouses, finding the best day, moving the tomato plants out of the pots into the garden, determining the coming weather, making bows and arrows, that is probably fun for most children. The fathers don’t have time for this, mostly, and that’s why the grandfathers were used here as well. Not only because they knew how to do it, but also because they had the time.
Time that was needed because what you learn new does not always succeed. There are setbacks and incorrect designs. But if there is enough time to explain, to empathize and to pick up the child from where it is, then it also learns, completely incidentally and unnoticed. A piece of wisdom that is already standard nowadays in every halfway good educational textbook did not have to be taught into the grandfathers first. They had this intuitive knowledge. They just followed it without thinking about it.
Learning to master life, but above all that you don’t have to master it alone. To experience people who are there for each other, right from the start, who take care of you. While most grandfathers weren’t in the habit of talking about feelings, it wasn’t their way, but they expressed them by holding hands and supporting them. You don’t always have to talk about everything and talk it through. You can show it. Maybe often much better. Moments in which you cannot find words, worries that you cannot or do not want to name. It is not always necessary either. It is the community that gives and builds strength, doing things together. Stacking the wood behind the house. For example. To chop shavings. Also. It is the shared experience that enriches life.
These days, grandfathers ride motorcycles and go to the gym, or they never stop working until the bitter end. The circle of life becomes a constant forward movement. There is no end because we don’t want end, just forward and more. Grandfathers should do that too, but also and not only. And above all not under duress, because we lose a lot of skills here too. Skills, abilities and knowledge.
And if you want to be politically very correct, you are welcome to sit down and exchange the words grandmothers and grandfathers or replace them entirely with grandparents. It doesn’t matter – the important thing is to reflect on the possibilities that this phase of life has to offer, for yourself and for others.