Rais­ing kids the com­mu­nal way

Grand­par­ents are in­deed a val­ued re­source

Central Otago Mirror - - OPINION -

t takes a vil­lage to raise a child, a say­ing I’ve never re­ally thought too much about, un­til re­cently. You see, my par­ents have been liv­ing in their bus in my back­yard while they have been work­ing here in Alexan­dra and build­ing in Twizel. You’d think it would be rather chal­leng­ing hav­ing your mother so close but the op­po­site is true. Yes, I’ve have had to keep my house cleaner than nor­mal and my wash­ing line isn’t al­ways my own but their years have had an amaz­ing im­pact on my chil­dren’s lives. Grand­par­ents share a to­tally dif­fer­ent type of re­la­tion­ship with chil­dren than par­ents do and I think my chil­dren have gained so much from hav­ing them just out­side the back­door. They ex­tend end­less pa­tience with a five-year-old’s con­stant jib­ber jab­ber, wis­dom to a dis­traught (slightly dra­matic) teenager and time for a wee guy with yet an­other imag­i­na­tive half­planned build­ing pro­ject. They im­part all the knowl­edge we par­ents haven’t dis­cov­ered through life yet, pro­vide the lessons we may not have learnt, of­fer ears, ad­vice, hugs and gen­er­ally add more value to a child’s world. They move on soon, off to fin­ish their house and en­joy semire­tire­ment. This ex­pe­ri­ence has en­riched all our lives and I will miss the sup­port, friend­ship and ad­vice, be­ing so close. And let’s not for­get the glass of wine they of­fered to a fraz­zled mother at the end of a busy day. So yes, it does help hav­ing a ‘‘vil­lage’’ to raise chil­dren, and I will miss mine. ● Suzie Sykes, mother of 3 . . . still truck­ing on.

Wis­dom: Grandad (Dave Mur­phy) teaches three-year-old Char­lotte a few tricks in their Alexan­dra gar­den.

Suzie Sykes

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