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. Movies Under the Stars: School of Rock

    June 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    June 23, 2017  |  7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    Corporal Thompson Park
    Join NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for a free film. Know Before You Go: You should arrive before 7:00 p.m. to get your spot. Feel free to bring a blanket to sit
  2. Gentle Flow Yoga

    June 24 @ 10:00 am - July 22 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  10:00 am - 11:00 am
    Alice Austen House Museum
    Join us on the lawn of Clear Comfort for yoga every other Saturday this summer. Led by Be Yoga & Dance in partnership with Shape Up NYC.
  3. Day at the Races

    June 24 @ 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Monmouth Racetrack
    3rd Annual “Day at the Races,” a Jaimes’s LILAC foundation fundraiser at Monmouth Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ. Saturday- June 24- 11am to 6pm; tickets are $40 adults- $20 children - includes entrance and all you can eat.
  4. Zentangle 101

    June 24 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    South Beach Library
  5. Storytime: “The Rainbow Fish”

    June 24 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Barnes & Noble
    This modern classic is celebrating its 25th year in print! With eye-catching foil stamping glittering on every page, it offers instant child appeal. But it is the universal message at the heart of this story about a beautiful fish who
  6. Homework Help

    June 24 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    New Dorp Library
    11am-1pm & 2pm-4pm High School volunteers are offering their services to help with reading and math! Reading:Prek -Third grade, Math: prek to eighth grade. First come first served. Sign up lists will start the day of each session when library
  7. Music & Movement

    June 24 @ 11:00 am
    June 24, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    New Dorp Library
  8. FREE Family Fun Day

    June 24 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    Conference House Park
    Rain date June 25. Face painting, costume characters, giveaways, zumba, cotton candy, food, music, popcorn, ice cream, drinks. For more info call Tom Crimmins Realty 718-370-3200.
  9. Food Truck Festival at The Mount

    June 24 @ 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Mount Loretto
    Join us at Mount Loretto on June 24th and 25th from Noon-8pm each day for our Second Annual Food Truck Festival Presented by ShopRite! If you think last year’s event was big…you ain’t seen nothing yet! This event will feature
  10. Beehive and Honeycomb paintings

    June 24 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    June 24, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Arts Vocabulary; create mixed media Beehive and Honeycomb paintings.