Posts tagged ‘relationships’

‘Tis the Season to be Reading, photo by archangeldeb

It’s that time of year again! Families are coming together to visit and remember past holidays and traditions. Some of us are lucky enough to live close to our children and grandchildren, but there are those of us who aren’t so fortunate. We want to keep in touch and be more involved in our loved ones’ lives, but how do we do it in only a few short days? One of the best ways for Boomers to spend some special quality time with grandchildren is to read to them. Experts agree that reading to children is extremely important to their learning and growth. But, dare I say it? Many of us may have lost our touch. So, how do we choose a good book? It’s important to find one that you’ll enjoy, too!

First, where do you find a good book? In addition to visiting the Library and asking the experts, your friendly Youth Services Librarians, there are some helpful websites you may consult:

100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know (New York Public Library)
2010 Notable Children’s Books (Association for Library Service to Children)
Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2010 (New York Times)
Read Aloud America

If you are reading to older children that have a longer attention span or children of varying ages, try some of the titles recommended at:
Best Read-Aloud Chapter Books (Good Reads)

In addition, there are several excellent books to help you find good books to read aloud:

Choosing Books for Children by Betsy Gould Hearne
Books Kids Will Sit Still For 3 by Judy Freeman
Read-aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Reading Magic by Mem Fox

At Torrance Public Libraries, picture books (Easy Books), most of which are designed for reading aloud, are shelved separately from Beginning Reader books that children read independently, so it’s easy to find a good book that is age appropriate.

Now that you’re ready with an enticing book, how do you read to your grandchild?

• First, pick a book that appeals to you – you’ll be much more likely to read with enthusiasm if you enjoy the storyline and/or illustrations. It’s a good idea to preview the book(s) if you have time. 
• Get comfortable!  Pick a quiet, cozy spot where you can give your undivided attention to your grandchild.
• Use an animated voice. Read the story using a different voice for each character. Don’t be afraid to ham it up – this is the time to practice all your best drama skills.
• Choose a book with rhyming words. Rhythm and repetition are excellent forms of fun!
• Leave out some of the words and let your grandchild fill them in.
• Encourage your grandchild to point to pictures or words in the book as you read.
• Read with an accent (especially if you find yourself getting bored with the book!)
• Ask your grandchild what they think will happen next. Asking questions will help focus attention, gives your grandchild a chance to participate, and may lead to interesting discussion.
• Change the words. Substitute outrageous words like hippopotamus or pickle that have nothing to do with the story. Your grandkids will have a great time correcting you and you’ll all have a wonderful laugh!

Remember, reading to your grandchild can be enjoyable and fun for both of you. It’s a way you can become involved in his/her life and provide many lasting memories. Reading a good book with your grandchild doesn’t need to depend on your being physically present together; try reading to your grandchild over the phone or via video chat. It’s a wonderful way to contribute to your grandchild’s life!

If you do have a book that your grandchild has particularly enjoyed, share the title with your fellow Boomers below in our comments area – they may be inspired to try it as well.


December 9, 2010 at 5:43 am 5 comments

The Generation M Manifesto


Tree of Life painting by Tim Parish

There are many articles out there written about the generations – Baby Boomers, Gen X, the Millenials, and the differences and conflicts between all of us.

This past week, I stumbled upon a different generation – Generation M and their manifesto. What does the M stand for?  The author of this post, Umair Haque, says, “The first is for a movement.  It’s a little bit about age — but mostly about a growing number of people who are acting very differently.  They are doing meaningful stuff that matters the most.”

As such, this sounds like something that Boomers could relate to, and already have in many ways through their past experiences innovating, rejecting cultural norms, and participating in social movements.

At its core, this manifesto espouses the importance of community, localized economies, accountability, democracy, and returning to our humanity.  At least, that’s my interpretation. Check it out and let us know what you think.


August 11, 2009 at 8:22 pm Leave a comment

Create a Wave of Good Feeling

disneyland birthday pinThe post on June 9, Generations Go To Disneyland was not an accident; I was actually researching the amusement park in preparation for spending my birthday there. This year, Disneyland is offering free admission on your birthday, so on my big day I visited the “happiest place on earth.” 

The birthday fun started in the parking garage, when the attendant recognized the voucher I had on my passenger seat (you register on the web site and print out the voucher they send) and wished me a “happy birthday!” At the ticket booth, the staffer there also wished me a happy birthday, gave me a birthday pin to wear, and she wrote my name on it.  I put on my pin and went into the park.  At least one attendant on almost every ride wished me a happy birthday, most calling me by name.  The guy who sold me food and the nice lady who told me where the ladies room was both wished me a happy birthday.  It was like Disneyland knew it was my birthday (with the pin, of course, they did!)

In addition, everyone wearing the pins started wishing each other a happy birthday.  Adults of all ages were wearing pins, from grandfathers to young dads, and nobody got away without at least one “happy birthday” while waiting in line.  I started making a point out of wishing happy birthday to little kids next to me in line, if they were wearing a pin.  Kids would notice my pin and wish me a happy birthday.  A group I was riding with on a ride wished me a happy birthday.  I met another woman in line who spends every birthday at Disneyland, and I wished her a happy birthday.  This continued all day long, and the wave of good feeling overrode the heat, the waiting, the sore feet, and everything else.  None of that mattered, because it was my birthday and everyone knew and everyone cared.

Does it take Disneyland to do this? A huge marketing campaign, infrastructure to create the incentives, and an entire cast (as all Disneyland employees are called) trained in being super nice? Of course not! If you wish, you can create or participate in a wave of good feeling every day. Start “the wave” at a rock concert or sporting event with a group around you and see who picks it up and carries it around the stadium. Start an alternative Secret Santa campaign at the office, such as leaving funny poems for people instead of expensive gifts.

Participate in a “pay for the person behind me” line (also known as “pay it backwards”) at a toll booth, or in line for coffee. This begins when someone starts by paying for themselves and the person behind them, then when the next person finds out they have been paid for, they pay for the person behind them, and so on until someone who really needs the break gets a free toll or free coffee. Or just pick someone in a restaurant who looks lonely, or lost, and tell the waitress you will pay for their dessert – I haven’t seen anyone yet in a military uniform get away with paying for their own coffee in my local Starbucks.

Tell someone thank you, that you appreciate them, that their assistance was useful, and end your phone calls with “have a nice day.” And if you know it is someone’s birthday (I’m really bad at remembering), it doesn’t take a card or a present to celebrate. Just drop a note on their desk or just say hi and happy birthday.

July 21, 2009 at 6:24 am 2 comments

Reinventing Date Night for Boomers and Others

CB106693Reading about and watching all the coverage of President Obama’s date night – a trip to New York City to see a Broadway play – reminded me of an article I read in the New York Times several months ago. The article, entitled “Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples,” talks about how to make “date night” – a regular evening out with friends or at a favorite restaurant – more meaningful and fulfilling.

The article’s author, Tara Parker-Pope, offers a summary of research conducted by Dr. Arthur Aron, professor of social psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Aron believes that couples need to design their date nights around new and different activities and not the old and familiar. The goal is to find ways of adding novelty into existing relationships.

Over the past several years, Dr. Aron and his colleagues have tested the novelty theory. In one experiment, couples were told to spend 90 minutes per week doing pleasant and familiar activities, like going to a movie or out to dinner. Couples in a second group were asked to spend 90 minutes a week doing “exciting” activities that appealed to both the husband and wife, but were not things they typically did – for example, attending concerts or plays, hiking, skiing, or dancing. A third group was not assigned to do any particular type of activity. After 10 weeks, the couples were tested about the quality of their relationships. Interestingly, those in the “exciting” date night group showed a significantly greater increase in marital satisfaction than the “pleasant” date night group.

As with many experiments, there were a number of variables that could have affected the final results, but it makes sense that experiencing fun and vibrant activities with someone you care about would result in a greater sense of satisfaction and excitement about being with that person.

So next time you and your long-time companion think about your standard Friday night dinner at (fill in your regular haunt), try something new, unusual, or adventuresome! And don’t forget to consult the City of Torrance Events Calendar – you may find a great inexpensive or free activity close by to rekindle your sweetie’s affections.

Have any great ideas for novel places in the South Bay or its environs that you’d recommend for date night? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

June 7, 2009 at 6:34 am Leave a comment



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