GRANDCHILDREN may have more “electronic savvy” than their grandparents, but several grandparents pointed out the basics — such as Christian values, love, kindness, integrity and enjoyment of family and of life itself — are the most significant things they can teach their grandchildren. Technology, however, often comes from their grandchildren’s teachings. Regardless of the grandparents’ ages, whether they are baby boomers or older, they still emphasize the importance of basics. Judy Gibson, a Barnesville resident with eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, believes in teaching her grandchildren that “the family is important” and “to work hard, give thanks and to appreciate your life.” Most of Gibson’s grandchildren are in the Barnesville area while one is in California, and she commented on “their electronic savvy.” The Barnesville woman, who doesn’t have a computer, mentioned the importance of personal notes and cards. Cooking and baking with their help, digging in the yard and looking at things under a microscope, reading and playing are among the things she has enjoyed with her grandchildren over the years. Gibson also mentioned how observant youngsters are and added,“You don’t think they are, but they’re observing all the time.” Danene Hutkay, a Dillonvale resident who has two grandchildren, a 5-year-old in Morristown and a 2-year-old in North Canton, stressed the importance of teaching them to “just love and respect people.” She mentioned working on crafts, baking, reading and activities such as going to the park, swimming and places such as the Good Zoo. Hutkay commented, “They just open up our eyes again. It’s like seeing things for the first time.” Although she deals with a computer in her work, she told how the 5-year-old watches things such as “Sesame Street” online and simulated playing with dolls via the computer — “things I didn’t know existed.” Martins Ferry resident Jackie Bednarik, who has six grandchildren ranging in age from 16-21 and residing in the Weirton and Marion areas, placed emphasis on teaching them “to be kind and have a relationship with the Lord” and to follow the Golden Rule. Bednarik added she has learned from her grandchildren “that they’re smarter than I am.” Noting they programmed her cell phone and helped her husband to set up a computer, she added, “They’re all high tech. They know all this new stuff; I have to teach them some of the old stuff” such as sitting down and having a cup of tea, visiting persons hospitalized and sending cards. They sometimes communicate through email, and some grandchildren send pictures on their cell phone. Going to the beach every summer and attending Nailers’ games as well as outings and activities in their younger years are some of the things enjoyed by the two generations. Mentiong a new experience — a go-cart ride — she said, “It was to say the least a little frightening at times for me.” St. Clairsville area resident Lois Groves has nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The grandchildren, ranging in age from 21-30, live in Plain City, Ohio; Michigan; Texas; North Carolina and the Washington, D.C. area. “Integrity, teaching honesty, Christian values, to obey their parents, to study hard and to enjoy each day” are among the basics that Groves has emphasized to them. Noting “it’s more fun to be a grandparent than a parent,” Groves said she had acquired a lot more patience with her grandchildren because she’s doesn’t have the full responsibility of raising them. Although she believes in maintaining their parents’ standards with them, she added, “It’s fun to spoil them once in a while.” She has learned about email and texting from her grandchildren, and a grandson who works in the computer field “does some work (on the computer) when I screw up.” Games were among the activities in their younger years, Groves said now that they’re older, it’s enjoyable to spend time with them. “We just enjoy being around the family — you treasure that time especially when your time is limited with them. ... We feel blessed to have grandchildren that want to come home even though they’re in their 20s ... and there’s a lot of distance involved.” Woodsfield resident Donna Circosta, whose three grandchildren range in age from 7 months to 12 years, believes in instilling in them everything that was taught to her own children — faith, family and the value of education. A framed saying in the Circostas’ home notes, “There are two things you give your children. One is roots, the other is wings.” Her 7-year-old grandson asked what that meant, and she noted, “That’s the basis of everything we do. We have to help our grandchildren become good people.” They have helped with technology, and Circosta added, “They teach me a lot of today; they keep me current.” Even though she is a retired teacher, she said the 7-year-old “has taught me how different boys are.” The Circostas see their grandchildren who live in Woodsfield every day but interact with the 7-month-old baby in Cambridge extensively through iPhone and FaceTime. As to varied activities, Circosta said, “I think the difference with grandchildren is you have time to be able to stop and enjoy. ... Anything we do with them is usually fun — you see it through their eyes. Just watching them grow up, a piece of you lives on.” Pokas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
T-L Photos/MIKE PALMER
BARNESVILLE grandmother Judy Gibson, who has eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, reveals how she has been helped by her grandchildren and vice versa. Mentioning how observant youngsters are, she said, “You don’t think they are, but they’re observing all the time.” Relaxing at the Gibson home are, from left, grandson Bradlee Gibson, Judy’s husband Bill, Judy and Chloe Mankin, a great-granddaughter.