The 7-year-old asked me who I thought had the most important job. She suggested perhaps it was the president. I could barely contain my laughter.
Until they're teenagers, and think they know everything, kids are like a sponge, soaking up any and all information, and you’d better believe they pay attention to everything we say and do. They may act like they're not listening or have a care in the world about what we say, but we build their beliefs, personality, values and morals.
I take this role very seriously as a grandparent. The 1-year-olds don't know how to trick me into answering questions on touchy subjects yet, although the 7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy have it down to a fine science. You have to be on your game or they could take home information their parents may not think is very funny.
Not wanting the girl to think I don't believe in the government, or the president, I told her, in my opinion, teachers had the most important job. Without teachers, how would anyone ever learn how to spell, read, add, subtract or much less become the president. I could have gone on and on about other professions I consider to be more "important" than a president, such as the military, police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and all those we refer to as blue collar workers. I wanted to say "it takes a country of people to run a country," but she had already lost interest, as she was daydreaming about becoming a teacher.
Our family is witnessing another prime example of how much we influence the kids we love, as the 4-year-old boy, heavily influenced by his Papa and Dad, will do most anything to prove his passion for sports is as strong as theirs. You can't do anything to change his mind about his favorite sports teams and if the men in his life told him to root for Captain Kangaroo, he would.
The 1-year-olds copy everything the adults do, as well as the other two grandkids. They are constantly learning as they watch our every move. There is no such thing as "do as I say, not as I do." It's more than just setting a good example, we have to live it, breathe it, believe it, so they will too.
I'm really trying to keep off my soapbox, but with four grandchildren and hopefully more to come, it's worrisome to think how they may be influenced by those outside of our family unit. I had the same concerns when my kids were little, but the world seems different now. There's a lot going on nowadays I'm not sure I want to try and explain, much less know how to answer the why.
Even though so much is different, a lot remains the same. I remember playing with my cousins while our parents and grandparents talked about their ever changing world back then. My grandma's favorite line was said many times, "what's this world coming to?"
I was happy to answer the girls' question about who I thought had the most important job, but if she asks me what happened to Hannah Montana, I'm going to pretend like I'm hard of hearing.
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org