Q: I have a 7-year-old grandson, and I am well aware of the fact that the world is all about him. He is friendly and eager to get on with life. I am trying to teach him about kindness because I believe it's important in life.
What's the best way I can do that?
A: Tell your grandson that it's important to see and understand other peoples' circumstances in life. Everyone has certain limitations, whether they have trouble walking, seeing or remembering their responsibilities. Everyone can get by a little better with support from others. As you suggest, this is best learned at an early age.
There are a few ways you can help your grandson learn about kindness. Next time you go to a restaurant and notice another customer having difficulty opening the door, tell your grandson to go to the rescue and help the person inside. When you go grocery shopping, find an empty cart for an elderly shopper. Teach him to say thank you when someone offers him a gift or a complement.
Acts of kindness must not be based on money or other material rewards, but on the prospect of doing something good and possibly making a new friend.
How we treat others is how others treat us. That is a winning attitude! — Doug
ASK FOR AND ACCEPT HELP
Q: I've recently noticed that I'm not able to get around my home as easily as I used to. I've lived in the same house for the last 40 years, and I don't ever want to move. All of my precious memories and possessions are here. However, I'm having trouble with the stairs and cleaning and managing the house. I've lived here alone for the last 3 years since my husband died, and I don't know what to do. Thankfully, my family lives in the same area, but I don't know what to ask them to help me with. What do you advise?
A: Many seniors find themselves in a similar situation. It's definitely something to think about. Every possible decision can have a huge emotional impact.
It sounds like you've already considered downsizing as an option, but it's not something you're comfortable with. Knowing your personal desires and limitations makes a good foundation for decision-making, but you will need to adjust your plans accordingly.
Fortunately, your family lives near you and can help you directly, with chores around the house, or indirectly by helping you find resources for cleaning and maintenance. You definitely want to be careful not to ignore the tasks you find difficult, otherwise you'll watch the house decay slowly around you, a la Miss Havisham in "Great Expectations."
One of the best things you can do is remove extraneous items in your home so it's less cluttered and you have more space. Your family can help with this. They can also check in with you and provide a more impartial eye. Sometimes we learn to ignore growing problems if we see them every day!
Best of luck finding a solution that works for you! — Emma
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.