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. Greenbelt Peepers

    March 23 @ 9:45 am - 10:15 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  9:45 am - 10:15 pm
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Through hands-on activities, crafts, and stories, two-year-old kids and their caregivers will become familiar with the sights and sounds of the forest. Space is limited. Registration requested. To register, please email naturecenter@sigreenbelt.org or call (718) 351-3450.
  2. Free Foreclosure Legal Services

    March 23 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  10:00 am - 3:00 pm
    Senator Andrew Lanza's District Office
    The Mobile Legal Help Center is a partnership between the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) and the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program that provides free foreclosure legal services to New Yorkers in need. Private meeting rooms
  3. Toddler/Preschool Story Time

    March 23 @ 10:30 am - 11:15 am
    March 23, 2017  |  10:30 am - 11:15 am
    St. George Library
    Songs, rhymes, picture book stories, & a craft activity are all part of this story time. Registration required.
  4. Toddler Storytime

    March 23 @ 11:00 am
    March 23, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library
  5. Tot’s Time Plus

    March 23 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Your pre-schooler will create artwork, sing along and listen to stories.
  6. Greenbelt Tree Tots

    March 23 @ 11:00 am - 11:45 am
    March 23, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:45 am
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Through hands-on activities, crafts, and stories, children will become familiar with the sights and sounds of the forest. Space is limited. Registration required. Email nature center@sigreenbelt.org or by phone at 718-351-3450. Fee: $3 or Free for Greenbelt Conservancy Members.
  7. Bouncing Babies

    March 23 @ 11:15 am
    March 23, 2017  |  11:15 am - 11:15 am
    West New Brighton Library
    Come for playtime, stories and songs for babies and their caregivers.
  8. Baby Social

    March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    St. George Library
    Playground is too cold or it’s rainy? Do you and your baby need to get out of the house? Come to the library! A safe, indoor space for babies 0-23 months and their caregivers to play and socialize. Baby toys
  9. Reading & Technology Family Workshop

    March 23 @ 12:00 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 12:00 pm
    Huguenot Library
  10. Animal Time

    March 23 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    March 23, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Join us for this daily program and meet one of the animals from our living collection. Check the white board at the museum for details.