Children's attitudes toward the life cycle can be profoundly affected by their contact with elders. Their feelings about their own future will be influenced by the way their grandparents approach life. But children also want to establish some sense of connection with the past. What was it like before they were born? What did their parents and grandparents do when they were young? In a child's eyes, grandparents are living repositories of change and history. They have seen so many things and experienced so much of what life has to offer. Only the older generation can provide children with a glimpse of living history as seen by someone who was really there.
- Prepare your Special Letter:
Where and when were you born? Where did you grow up? How many brothers and sisters did you have? What did your parents do for a living? Discuss your growing up - games played, sports, school days, work experiences and exciting events witnessed. Talk about some of the dramatic changes - television, the planes, computers, etc. - that have taken place since you were a child. Anything you think is important!
- For your grandchild's scrapbook:
Construct your family tree. Sketch a tree on a piece of paper. Label the branches and roots on your family tree. Write your complete name and the names of your mother and father on the tree trunk. Trace your roots on your mother's and father's sides of the family. Try to include the birth names of all female ancestors.
- In your journal (After completing letter 2)
Describe some of the events of your past that you think your grandchild would like to know about. Mention any stories your parents or other relatives may have told you. Talk about what life was like when you grew up. (After receiving your grandchild's special letter): Identify some of the things your grandchild likes to do and contrast them with what children his or her age did when you were young.
- Optional Activities (Choose as many as you want to do):
- Decorate Your Scrapbook. If you completed the Me Mobile in Letter #1, use the symbols to decorate the cover of your scrapbook.
- Family Picture. Find an old picture of yourself or your parents that you would be willing to part with or have another photo made from your copy. Place this picture on a sheet of typing paper and write a brief explanation of the picture.
- Life Line. On a long strip of paper, draw a heavy horizontal line representing Life. Mark Birth and the date at the left end. Mark significant pictures, mementos or brief descriptions to signify these points.
- Something from the Past. Send a picture or description of something owned or made by an ancestor. Include a description of how the object was made or used.
- Family Food. If you have a traditional food or dish that your mother or grandmother prepared, send the recipe to your grandchild. Explain how it became a tradition in your family.
- Mail what you have created directly to your grandchild. Ask your grandchild to respond with letter 2 on his or her instruction sheet.