I have three grandsons who live near me, and they are all in the 8-9 age. For the past year I’ve been giving them information about how I want them to treat me when I’m old. I told them that since I always feed them either at a restaurant or at my house, (and drive them all over creation), that I want them to do that for me when I am old. Here’s the basic conversation…
Me: When I get old, you guys have to come see me, and you need to bring food, and sometimes take me out to lunch.
Sev: I know. I’ll do it.
Travis: What do you want to eat again?
Me: Mashed potatoes, BBQ chicken, and watermelon.
Tommy: I’m going to pick you up in a truck, not a car.
Me: That’s okay, I like trucks!
Sev: Uh, so you want watermelon? Do you have to have mashed potatoes, too?
Anyone could ask these boys about what’s going to happen when I get old, (as far as it concerns them), and they will tell you exactly what you’ve just read.
Not long after our fiftieth conversation about this, I was holding Tommy’s hand, and patted him on the head. He commented, “You held my hand and patted me on the head.”
I replied, “I know. And when I get old, you’ll hold my hand and pat me on the head.”
He looked thoughtful and said, “And when you get old and die, we’ll put you in the cemetery.”
“Whoa, Tommy! That’s a looooong way away, though.”
He had no clue why I couldn’t stop laughing! 🙂
And then I remembered Lilly telling me not to sell our house, because when we die, she wants to live here!
Seriously, I think we need to communicate our expectations to children, and be examples for them. I don’t believe that a child should be the center of the family universe, with everything and everyone rotating around that child so that his every wish is met. Instead, offer him the gift of beginning to think about how other people in his little universe have feelings and needs, as well.