Used to be a time when grandchildren spent summer holidays playing outdoors in the dust closely watched by grandparents, their guardians for summer holidays.
Since the emergence of Internet, grandchildren are too busy playing neopets or other games while grandparents try to make sense of this new beast that has changed their lives and distanced them from their grandchildren.
But here is the twist. I spent this summer watching my teenage niece happily sacrificing her favorite pastime to hold “computer training classes” to train her granddad a stern octogenarian.
For once she had a role which yielded her the power to reprimand, a power she mercilessly used. Her helpless granddad tried his best to be “a good student”.
For the first time the power dynamics in the relationship changed and they both enjoyed and learnt from the experience.
At the end of 3 weeks of classes my niece had a uncovered her ability to mentor, to make independent decisions. Her granddad had grown to respect her as an individual with valuable skills. Together they had developed a special bond shared only by the two of them.