What My Grandson Taught Me About Retirement, Part 1: A Rock With Your Name on It!

May 11th, 2017

Do you have grandchildren? Have you noticed that there is a different relationship between parents and their children and grandparents and their grandchildren? 

We grandparents have a whole series of funny things to say about the difference between taking care of our kids and taking care of our grandkids. “If I’d have known how much more fun grandkids were than real kids, I’d have jumped right on past that first set all together.”

Fun is definitely a descriptor for a grandparent’s job. But often there is more to the story. Grandparents don’t just “watch the kid,” they absorb the kid! “How cute was that? Isn’t she pretty? Isn’t she smart? Isn’t he fast? Isn’t he just the boss of the group? She is quite the organizer.”

Grandparents pay attention. So, in the next little while here, I’ll be telling you some tales of what I’ve watched and what I’ve learned. Let’s start with rocks.


These days my house has lots of rocks around the yard. This is all due to some grand plan my wife has for her gardens. So, this place has a circle of rocks. Over there is a mound of rocks with flowers spilling over. And it all is lovely. Believe me. My wife, Crys, does a great job.

But the rocks don’t always stay where they are put.

You see, my grandson is into bugs. Little bugs. Big bugs. Hairy bugs. Ugly bugs. Green ones. Blue ones. Jet black bugs. If it crawls or skitters about, my grandson, Evan, loves it. He has for years.

Evan started going to bug camp when he was a rising kindergartner. Evan’s father works at a university where the entomology professor runs a half-day, week-long bug camp for kids. One of the things the professor does is take the kids on explorations. They wander around the campus hunting for bugs. 

Evan has done bug camp six times. Starting the second year, his friend Emily came along. The third year Lucy joined in. So now, it is not uncommon for us to look out in the backyard and see those three kids hunkered down. Turning over rocks. And then they dig their fingers in to find the good stuff. If there are several explorers involved, that usually means it is Sunday because that’s the day families get together. And if it is Sunday, that means usually they are getting dirt, if not mud, on their Sunday clothes. 

That’s what explorers do. They turn over rocks. They dig for the good stuff. They get dirty.

Life is about curiosity! Retirement is no exception. Turning over rocks. Digging for the good stuff. Getting hands dirty. When you want to know...  

  • What’s going to happen? 
  • What can we do about that? 
  • How far does this go? 
  • How long will it take?
  • When did all this take place? 

...you’re going to have to dig in and get your hands dirty. Curiosity is your fuel.

So just what are you really curious about? Is it how to better your bridge game or golf score? Are you curious about what will happen when you get to that vacation destination you’ve been planning? Are you wondering what the next step is going to be to finish that project, maybe a cabinet or a room remodel? Where you can volunteer?

Maybe you’re just interested in learning. What course will you take? Where will the new knowledge take you?

Curiosity. Curiosity is the rubber band that holds your life in tension between “Been there, done that” and “Wow, I can’t wait.” It is the spark between burnout and rekindle. It is the lubricant that turns what could be a long rough finish into a smoother journey. Curiosity is the hub.

Surely there is a rock out there with your name on it. It is just waiting for you to find what’s buried. On the underside.

Thank you, Evan, for reminding me to continue to be curious in my life. If I ever feel my curiosity waning, I will remember you hunkering down with Grandma’s rocks. 

This is your invitation to brag. I happen to think my grandchild is the greatest. I bet you do, too! So tell me about him, her, them. What have your grandchildren done that got your attention? Have they told you a little about yourself or how you might be a better person. Drop me a line and give me the scoop: edz@retire-to.com.

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