Life Is Grand: Family Colors

Enjoying Life as a Staten Island Grandparent

Enjoying Life as a Staten Island Grandparent

October 2014-- From my own parents to my children to my grandson, I have observed three generations of cultural growth and discovery.

My family was, as were most of my peers’ families, good, hardworking people who immigrated to America from Italy. Pretty much everyone they knew was very much like them: they looked and spoke alike and had the same customs. When they met or interacted with other races or religions, the unfamiliar made them nervous and an invisible guard went up.

Many of today’s grandparents and seniors have been Americans for decades and they have shared experiences with all kinds of people. Hopefully, a mosaic has formed that connects us to our global neighbors more than ever. As the next older generation, we still have a job to do.

It’s has been over sixty years since Rosa Park stood up for her rights and thankfully that sort of legalized injustice is no longer an issue. Remember, if prejudice is learned, so is acceptance and kindness. Our grandchildren will base friendships more on values and interests if taught to treat all people with respect.

Judging by the amount of different ethnic restaurants in Staten Island and the amount of children who know what sushi is, I believe we have a springboard for learning just by the foods we eat!

Here are a few tips from Beyond the Golden Rule: Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice

  • Acknowledge differences. Emphasize the positive aspects of our different languages, music, and cooking. Also, be honest about instances, historical and current, when people have been mistreated because of their differences.
  • Challenge intolerance. If your grandchild says or does something indicating bias or

prejudice, don’t meet the action with silence. Silence indicates acceptance, and

a simple command — “Don’t say that” — is not enough. First try to find the root of the

action or comment: “What made you say that about Adam?” Then, explain why the

action or comment was unacceptable.

  • Foster pride. Talk to your grandchild about your family heritage to encourage self-knowledge

and a positive self-concept.

  • When dealing with teenage grandchildren, try to stay involved. Messages about differences exist all around teens: the Internet, songs, music videos, reality shows, ads and commercials, social cliques at school. Know and join some of the websites. Even my 84 year-old mom enjoys Facebook.
  • Encourage your teenage grandchildren to get involved in causes they care about. As mature adults, we are able to teach them how to have a voice in their community and to empower them to help resolve issues of injustice.

Remember, as we speak, 3-year-olds are still curious about why people look different, 9-year-olds are being called a slur because of their religion, and 15-year-olds are being snubbed by those outside of their social clique at school.

The time to learn, evolve and grow is now, my friends. The world is truly getting smaller and the expectation for our grandkids is only getting bigger. As grandparents, we must model positive values with an open heart and a willingness to work for change.

By Staten Islander Marianna Randazzo, who is an author, educator, as well as a newly minted grandmother. 


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  1. Tavern Concert

    February 24 @ 8:00 pm
    February 24, 2017  |  8:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Guyon Tavern
    $15 Admission Online $18 Admission at the Door
  2. All About Archery

    February 25 @ 9:00 am
    February 25, 2017  |  9:00 am - 9:00 am
    Zimmer Club
    Learn the parts of a bow & arrow, range procedures and archery basics. The Zimmer Club youth program uses the great outdoors as a classroom to teach youngsters about outdoor activities, conservation, and embracing nature. Classes are free to boys
  3. Community Holistic Health Forum

    February 25 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    February 25, 2017  |  9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Central Family Life Center
    Part of Staten Island University Hospital’s RED-Bruary events calendar. Speaker: James Lafferty, MD, Director of Cardiology Medical mobile unit offering lipid profiles, A1C, blood pressure screenings, pulse ox, BMI, and waist circumference. Heart healthy conversations about social determinants in healthcare.
  4. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Storytime

    February 25 @ 11:00 am
    February 25, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Barnes & Noble
    Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! In celebration of the beloved author’s birthday on March 2nd, we will host a special Storytime featuring coloring, activities and more. Don’t miss out on this fun-filled Storytime!
  5. Get Movin’ Story Time

    February 25 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
    February 25, 2017  |  11:30 am - 12:30 pm
    St. George Library
    Whether your child loves reading, sports, or both, our Get Movin’ story time is 100% fun!
  6. Reading Help

    February 25 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    February 25, 2017  |  12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    Huguenot Library
  7. Maple Syrup Science

    February 25 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    February 25, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    Clay Pit Ponds
  8. Hieroglyphs in the Art studio

    February 25 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    February 25, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Arts vocabulary; Hather,Hake and Horos- can you find these Egyptian gods in hieroglyphs? Learn this ancient form of communication and create your own Pictographs.
  9. Open Craft Hour

    February 25 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
    February 25, 2017  |  1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
    Mariners Harbor Library
    Let your imagination run wild with our big box of craft supplies. Join us for fun crafting
  10. Animal Time

    February 25 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    February 25, 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.