Communication is a Work of Art

“If everyone is thinking alike then somebody isn’t thinking.” George s. Patton.

What is your communication style, and how can it keep you sharp mentally?

Today, many methods of interaction do not even require people to come together, such as reading this text. Granted, communicating could be frustrating, especially when you spend 20 minutes on a phone call and then get disconnected, or when you try phoning someone who doesn’t pick up the phone, even when you know it is in his hand. How many times have you spent far too long re-reading texts that just don’t seem to make sense? What about the frustration of finding out vital information on Facebook! So, how do we get back to the art of conversation?

Don’t succumb to technology to speak with your grandchildren. Imagine if Martin Luther King, Jr. had not had the opportunity to reach people with his speeches. Words add joy to celebrations, inspire friends, and impress grandchildren– even when we think they are not listening.

If you have lived for 40, 60, or 100 years, you certainly have a lot to say. As my dad would say, “Listen to this old man, I’ve been around.” We have experience and a perspective on the important things in life. We have witnessed much, and have hopefully acquired an optimistic view on aging.

Growing up, many baby boomers were told, “Children should be seen and not heard.” For some, it has taken years to unlearn that philosophy. The “Silent Generation” of our parents’ age held their privacy in great regard. For whatever reason, secrecy was dominant, and much important family history was either lost, or passed on only once old age liberated their minds.

Talk to your grandchildren, but don’t ask the standard questions like, “How’s school?” You’ll get the standard answers like, “Fine.” Instead, begin with something more creative like, “Tell me something good (or silly, or sad) that happened today, or “What superhero or cartoon character does your teacher remind you of?” Chat casually, talk about the lunchroom or the bus, and try to get a full picture of their social lives. While you’re talking, give them the lowdown on your school days. Even better, their dad’s or mom’s school days. Kids love to hear stories about their own parents as children.

Seize every opportunity for speaking your mind – it is a good brain workout. My mother used to talk politics with her grandchildren. Although she never voted in 84 years, she had interesting opinions from watching the news all day. She also kept up with celebrity gossip, which always impressed her grown grandchildren.

Listen to other people’s opinions, and you will always continue to learn. When someone is truly interested in your point of view, consider it a gift, a compliment. Show respect for the young ones, and they will value you.

Need icebreakers? Speak hypothetically. Clichéd questions from our youth, such as: “What would you do with a million dollars?” are new to kids. Turn it into a writing game for a great way to be creative and practice math! Their answers will give you a window into their hearts and minds.

Of the four essential human freedoms, the first is the freedom of speech. Speak your mind, and be a good role model for the grandkids.

By Staten Islander Marianna Randazzo, author, educator, and grandmother.



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  1. Opera Classes

    October 18
    October 18, 2017  |  12:00 am - 11:59 pm
    Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
    Lou Barrella. Class meets weekly from October 11 to November 15. Please contact the museum for more details.
  2. Evening Group Hike

    October 18 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Please note that this event has moved back to the Greenbelt Nature Center Most Wednesdays – Check the Facebook page – “The Greenbelt Conservancy” for updates. The hike is moderately paced, Bring a headlamp along as it is beginning to
  3. It’s My Park at Northerleigh Park

    October 18 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Northerleigh Park
    This It’s My Park season, please join Westerleigh Parks Coalition to clean and beautify Northerleigh Park. We look forward to cleaning up the park with you!
  4. THE LEGO® Americana Roadshow

    October 18 @ 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Staten Island Mall
    Staten Island Mall in New Springville will host THE LEGO® Americana Roadshow, a highly visual, educational and free traveling installation of larger than life LEGO replicas of some of our nation’s most beloved landmarks. Ten one-of-a-kind, large scale models of
  5. Staten Island Babywearers

    October 18 @ 11:15 am
    October 18, 2017  |  11:15 am - 11:15 am
    West New Brighton Library
    Want to learn the skills to being a good babywearer? Join us as we host Staten Island’s first peer to peer babywearing group, led by a certified babywearing educator! For parents and caregivers. Feel free to bring your babies!
  6. Clay Day

    October 18 @ 1:30 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  1:30 pm - 1:30 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Satisfy a “knead” by working with some air-dry clay and create a tactile piece.
  7. Science Time

    October 18 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Join us for this daily program on problem solving, inquiry and creative thinking. Activities include meetings animals from our Bugs exhibit, playing with solar cars, solving puzzle and games or building structures. Time is subject to change each day
  8. Children Craft

    October 18 @ 3:30 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    South Beach Library
  9. Slime Making!

    October 18 @ 3:30 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Huguenot Library
    Pre-register
  10. Picture Book Time

    October 18 @ 4:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  4:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    New Dorp Library
    Enjoy hearing books read aloud, finger plays action rhymes and coloring.