Laffy Taffy

Kids are inherently selfish. It doesn’t make them bad. It just makes them kids. When you’re small, your world is small. And what you have is yours – your toy, your bike, your candy. Often sharing is mandated. Children will be admonished to “share with your brother” or “share with your sister”. Usually the little miscreant will oblige but not always cheerfully. As parents, we try to remind our youngsters that sharing is ‘the right thing to do’.

But in a world full of selfish and self-centered adults, teaching kids to share seems a daunting task. ‘ME FIRST’ is the mantra of so many in our society that giving or sharing seems to be an antiquated idea. After all, how can I get ahead if I’m busy taking care of someone else? Why should I sacrifice any of my time, talent, or treasure to someone who hasn’t worked as hard as I have to achieve it?

In the United States the idea of the self-made man is iconic. Pulling one up by his (or her) own bootstraps is almost heroic. It is the quintessential American figure. But is any of us really able to do everything alone? Has no one else ever helped even the most successful (depending on what your definition of success might be) among us? I doubt it.

We all need one another. We all need to be helped from time to time. And we need to help others in return. Sharing is giving. Giving is helping.  So young parents, please keep reminding your kiddos. Make him share. Teach her to give. Model that same behavior.

laffy taffyI am encouraged because after school one day recently, my (almost) seven year-old grandson gave my wife a piece of Banana Laffy Taffy®.

Let me explain: In first grade if you’ve had a good week at school the teacher allows you to pick something from the candy jar. Noah loves candy but he also knows that his Nana loves Banana Laffy Taffy®.

So when it came time to choose, he chose unselfishly. He chose something for someone else. He ran excitedly up to her to present his treasure. He earned it. He deserved it. But he gave it up with love. And with tears brimming in her eyes she accepted his kindness.

I hope and pray that his small gesture is just the beginning of lifetime of sharing and giving to others. What an example he has given us. I remain humbled.



Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14




Grandsons Are Grand Indeed!

Grandson Noah

This week our dear friends Jeanne and Bob became grandparents for the first time. Their joy – Oliver a healthy baby boy! My school chum Cecilia was also recently blessed with grandson James. Grandsons are God’s assurance that he hasn’t given up on this messy, wonderful world which we inhabit.

Of course nothing is sweeter than a newborn, especially your own grandson. It’s another chance. A new hope. A future. A legacy. So much expectation placed on such tiny shoulders. But guess what? It doesn’t matter. No one else will ever fill that special place in your heart that only he can hold.

As much as we need our grandsons, I believe that they need us, too. We grandparents are the ones who can listen to them, mend their broken spirits, and reassure them that no problem is too big to fix or no disappointment worth their sweet tears. Everything will be alright – with a cookie, a hug, a wiped tear and a kiss. They are perfect in our eyes – and that’s as it should be. Our love for them is unconditional. We may place all our hopes and dreams upon our sons (and daughters) but our grandsons have met our every goal just by smiling at us or speaking our name or holding our hand. I like to think that the way I love my grandson is the way that God loves me – no strings attached.

So Jeanne and Bob and Cecilia and all of you that have grandsons, go grab your boys and give them a squeeze and remind them that you will love them even on their worst days. And that you will always be there to cheer them on; sing their praises; wave their flag; and love them; until your dying day.

All grandsons really need to do is accept our love. When it is reciprocated is when we get a tiny glimpse of heaven. And that’s as it should be…



Here’s a video of my sweet Noah –

Sharing Girl Stuff

On Sunday evening, my granddaughter Anna told me, “Nana and I share girl stuff”. I’m not sure exactly what she meant but I have a pretty good idea. On Saturday her Nana (my Debbie) bought her a pink tutu and ballet slippers. And on Sunday morning they made pancakes together – Anna knows all the rules of Nana’s kitchen – “we wash hands first, Pawpaw!” Plus later, on Sunday afternoon Nana painted Anna’s toenails red. So I suspect all of that stuff that they shared was “girl stuff”. So grandmothers and granddaughters share girl stuff and so much more. What a blessing for all.

Debbie had a grandmother that she loved dearly and her Mimi loved her. Mimi would take time with her just like Deb now takes time with our granddaughters Charlise and Anna. Debbie fondly remembers how she and Mimi shared girl stuff, too. And I know that Deb must feel Mimi’s spirit smiling down on them during those special times when she and our granddaughters are together now.

Six-year old Charlise loves spending time at Nana’s house. She actually calls it Nana’s house (as if I’m a boarder only allowed to live here out of Nana’s enormous generosity). There are always favorite foods and special meals. Always special things to do and special places to go. Nana makes certain that Charlise’s weekends at Nana’s house are always fun! They bake cookies together and there’s popcorn and “movie night”. And I get to join in the fun sometimes, too. But the “girl stuff” is just for them. And I believe that’s the way it should be.

Now (almost) three-year old Anna will tell you that she’s Pawpaw’s girl but everyone knows that she’s Nana’s shadow. Not only does she act like Deb but she mimics her every move. If they’re cooking together, Anna will take notice so as to stir and mix in her ingredients in the exact same manner that Nana does. If they’re signing together, Anna will finish the words of the songs that Deb is singing. And she even plays with Deb’s stupid little dogs – one of the reasons that I still haven’t called the animal shelter for a pick-up. She even loves feeding those dumb dogs.

Nana's Girls

So Nana and her girls “share girl stuff”. And it’s really nothing new. I suppose grandmothers and granddaughters have been sharing time together since life began. But what makes it special isn’t what they do – what makes it “sharing girl stuff” is the intrinsic bond that grandmothers and their granddaughters have. There is something almost primal in their need to bridge the generations. Granddaughters learn about tradition and grandmothers get to glimpse and help shape the future. It’s their legacy.

And grandfathers? Well we get to marvel at the wonder of it all.