"There is a truth about the world which cannot be denied and that is while the youth today do not always respect their elders like they once did, the elders will always respect the young and seek to understand their needs and ways.
When I grew up in the 50s, all of the neighbours looked out for all of the children all of the time. In many ways, the older citizens behaved no less than communal grandparents. A child needs a grandparent, anybody's grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world. Sadly today, simple acts of love and concern by a stranger of senior years to any child is just as likely to bring them allegations of being 'dirty old men' than to be seen in more generous light.
As people get older, it is only natural that they have a closer association with the younger child. Watch any grandparent with their son or daughter's offspring and see heaven here on earth. In fact I'd go so far as to say that the relationship between child and grandparent is probably the one relationship that is unaffected by time or guilt. Whenever I see a grandparent glow in the presence of their grandchild's joyful play which mum or dad are too tired to entertain, I know that I am witnessing the finest safety net a child could ever have.
A grandparent never runs out of patience, love and understanding. When I was young, I always found my grandma's knee the best place to sit when I was sad. It is perhaps one of my greatest regrets in life that I have never enjoyed a relationship with my only two grandchildren that most grandparents have. I know that this is a precious time I have been denied in my older years.
I rejoice however, whenever I see the untold happiness that such union between first and second youth brings as the age gap disappears along the continuum between birth and death. I have a good friend, whose life today is centred around the relationship she has with her granddaughter. Every minute spent in her grandchild's company is a little piece of heaven that sets her up for the week ahead in a way that no other tonic ever could.The relationship between them is so close that I feel sure if someone took it away that the grandma would give up the will to live because she saw no point in any longer doing so. My friend once told me that though she loved her children to bits, she found herself loving her granddaughter more. She was in a round-about-way telling me that she made a better granny than she did a mum!
Long may the older person and the child understand each other in ways no other can." William Forde: May 11th, 2016.