Families Again
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Families Again
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Tuesday's Toolbox - This Week's Item - Relatives
Mood:  happy
Topic: Blog Carnivals!

I have always liked groundhog day. It's small, unusual, and not even really a holiday. And, it's about a rodent who usually inaccurately predicts the weather. I don't know why I still enjoy it. Perhaps it's because I used to live in Pennsylvania, quite close to Punxutawney where Punxutawney Phil lives.

Another reason that February 2nd, is a favorite day of mine is because it is also my grandfather's birthday. Grandpa Tinkel would have been 109 years old today. Happy Birthday Grandpa!

I was very blessed to have Godly grandparents on both sides of the family. I loved all of my relatives. We lived with my mother's father in the hills of Pennsylvanis for a number of years when Grandpa got too old to live on his own. I learned a great deal from that gristly but kind retired coal miner/farmer. Grandpa Schickling lived on the old farm in the same house that my mother was born in. What more could a boy ask for while he was growing up?

I remember Grandpa teaching me how to plant a garden ~ a very large garden. He taught me how to rotate crops, how to walk the pony when we plowed (yes, we plowed with a pony), how to weed. He even set me up with my own strawberry business when I was just a boy. Oh, I hated it back then, but now, I hold dear to those memories, and I realize how valuable those lessons were.

Grandpa Tinkel, on the other hand, was a retired minister/school teacher from rural Indiana. It was always an adventure going to visit him. Grandma Tinkel passed away from cancer when I was young, and Grandpa Tinkel chose to do the honorable thing and take care of his mother-in-law, Great Grandma Starbuck. No, not from the coffee mogul, but, yes, from the great line of Starbuck's that founded and still live on Nantucket and Martha's Vinyard. And, yes, from the Starbuck's that Benjamin Franklin was related to. Grandpa Tinkel lived in a great house on Orchard Street in Wabash, IN. I loved that house. What fun my cousins Deanna and Brenda and I had. Dad had two brothers and no sisters. All three brothers had children in the same year. Brenda, Deanna and I always had a blast when we were together. 

There are many more memories that I relish from my childhood and youth. I'd like to blog about them in the future. Perhaps make it a regular feature. I want to write them down for my children's sake. My brother, David, always said that he was going to give Mom and Dad a tape player so that they could record memories from their childhood. We always said that we would do it, but never got the chance. Dad passed away, mom is becoming senile, and David, himself, succumbed to cancer almost two years ago. Now, it's up to my sister and I to write down our memories. Memories of how Mom used to be able to say the abc's backward as quick as we could say them forward. How Dad used to wear only white shirts and dark suits when he preached. Until my sister was brave enough to buy him some colored shirts for Christmas one year. Those stories mean nothing to others, but are memories that I will always cherish.

Why did I recall all of that for this weeks Tuesday's Toolbox? Because relatives can be an invaluable source for your child's education. Don't wait until it is too late to write the stories down of your parent's childhood and your own. Here are several ideas on how to incorporate your relatives into your child's learning.

  • Have your children interview your relatives. Perhaps they can talk to their grandparents about what life was like when they were young. Maybe they could have your siblings write down funny stories about you from your youth.
  • Help them make a scrapbook or a journal with pictures and the stories that they wrote down.
  • Compare prices to things back grandma and grandpa were kids to what the prices are today ~ a good math project.
  •  Have your children create a family newspaper with pictures and stories from their relatives.
  • Ask the grandparents or aunts or uncles to teach your child something from when they were young. Perhaps a game, making candles or soap, woodworking or gardening.
  • Doing those things will teach your children respect and understanding of your their elders.
Have I gotten the ideas flowing a little? There are tons of ways that you can incorporate your relatives into your children's learning. If all of your relatives are gone, find someone that knew them, or that at least grew up at the same time as they did. Use your imagination. Remember, family can be a great teaching tool. Don't neglect it.

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Posted by tink38570 at 6:31 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 2 February 2010 9:03 PM CST
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