Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finding a place as you age

Suzette Haden Elgin wrote a book, The Grandmother Principles, that is really very good. It teaches people how to be grandmothers who will be loved and cherished. The problem is that many people look at the potential roles and say "why not me?"
  • Ruling Matriarch
  • Entertainer
  • Cherished Family Member
All three of these can look good. The problem is that most efforts to be a ruling matriarch only make one into a pecking harridan. Most people feel no need to be dominated or controlled. Most methods to accomplish that role only alienate and cause pain and resentment.

Entertainers end up competing with television, books and games. Usually they end up spending time pushing boundaries becasue in every other way they exhaust their ourve. While boundary pushing is great for a six year old, eventually you end up being old, rude and skanky, if not irrelevant.

To be cherished requires grace and patience. You have to learn to listen, to love and to console without offering advice or prescriptions. To be the person everyone goes to for a listening ear, a word of love and encouragement, a place of peace.

There are other things a grandparent can do to nourish and support an extended family. Dr. Elgin's book covers them. But you need to start with a foundation of peaceful love and patience.

For more on the book, click on the link, then pick it up through interlibrary loan.

The Grandmother Principles by Suzette Haden Elgin (Paperback - April 1, 2000)

Other Editions: Hardcover, Hardcover


Karen said...

Thanks for the review. I am heading toward those years, with my oldest kids in their early twenties, and I worry about what kind of grandmother I will be. I have put this book on my to purchase list.

Stephen said...

Karen, if you would like, I'll send you a copy.

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