Now that the summer has descended upon us, it’s time to get out of the city! Many of you may be making plans to travel to your grandparents’ home, as is often the tradition with nuclear families living in metros. Vacations with grandparents promise loads of fun, playtime with cousins and lots of delicious food. But this year, apart from the fun and games, try and learn something from your grandparents. We start you off with a list of 11 things you could learn.
1. DOCUMENT YOUR FAMILY TREE
There are many reasons to do this—most importantly, it is one way to know more about your ancestors. Tracing your family as far back in time as possible will also tell you if you are related to famous people, if there is a history you should know and about ailments that could be passed on genetically. What’s more, if you are named after someone in the family, this is how you will find out more about the person.
2. VALIDATE FAMILY STORIES
How often have you heard your parents give anecdotes about their childhood or present snapshots of history from their time as kids? Your grandparents’ home is a good place to learn more about what your parents were like as kids and why they have certain pet peeves, likes and dislikes.
3. LEARN MORE ABOUT HISTORY
Your grandparents or their parents may have been part of the Indian freedom struggle and lived through important historical moments. So make it a point to make at least one night a week into a night where you regale in history. Let all the history in your schoolbooks and old paintings and pictures come alive before your eyes. Personal stories are much easier to remember than lists of names and dates from books.
4. PICK UP A NEW SKILL
Your grandparents lived at a time when malls didn’t exist and buying something imported was looked down upon. They learnt to make do with very little that was bought and thus learnt skills that enhanced their lifestyle. While women learnt stitching, weaving, knitting and crochet, men learnt pottery, woodwork and more. A holiday is a good time to learn at least one new skill that utilises the creative half of your mind.
5. GO LOCAL
If you notice carefully, you’ll find that yourgrandparents will never go beyond a radiusof 5kms to buy stuff for the house. Going local has a series of advantages. For one, you are helping the environment by saving on fuel and pollution and you are also helping the local producers earn their daily bread without the worry of a middleman taking advantage of their efforts. Also, let’s not forget that locally grown vegetables reach you a lot fresher, which means they are nutritionally richer too.
6. MORE ABOUT THEIR WAYS
Many of our grandparents didn’t have easy access to calculators and yet they solved complicated mathematical problems in a jiffy. In fact, even today, they may be better at mental mathematics than you are. Staying with your grandparents is a good time to learn how they did things at their time, be it mental maths or measuring and designing.
7. EXPLORE THE LOFT AND SORT THROUGH THE TRUNKS
You never know what you may find in there— old diaries, heirlooms, books, knick-knacks and old coins. Storage areas are always full of valuable stuff your grandparents never threw away because they didn’t know when they would need it again. Now’s your time to help them clean up and find valuables too!
8. A HAPPY MIND IS A HAPPY BODY
One of the greatest lessons to learn from grandparents is their spirited approach to life—one needs to learn to find happiness in everything one does to live a long and happy life.
9. FAMILY-SPECIFIC RECIPES
Each family has its own set style of cooking, be it pickles, chutneys or day-to-day dishes. In most cases, the food in the homes of both sets of grandparents will be very different. Raid the kitchen, learn more about the masalas that are made at home and note down family-specific recipes. You never know when they might come to use.
10. LIFE LESSONS
Grandparents are a storehouse of lessons— listen to them because their wisecracks and advice will never go waste. Some of the qualities you will learn from them include gratitude, humility, empathy, self-confidence, discipline, kindness, honesty and the importance of family.
11. LEARN YOUR MOTHER TONGUE
There’s no better teacher than your grandparent! While gr owing up in metros and smaller cities has its own perks, there’s also a huge problem—we lose touch with our mother tongue. Our preferred language of communication is English and very few of us speak our mother tongue as fluently as our
parents did. What’s worse, most of us can’t write a word in our mother tongue. Use the
time with your grandparents to brush up on your mother tongue—learn to read and write and even learn a song or two. Bring back novels or folktales written in your mother tongue so you can keep in touch with the language while in the city.
(Image courtesy ThinkStock)