My entire life has had both teaching and learning aspects in it. My mom was a Normal School teacher in a one room school house in Saline County. She taught at Crete Public Schools while getting her bachelors degree. She was a great role model. Although I didn’t initially think I wanted to go into education, it was the profession I finally chose to pursue. So I guess teaching was my DNA. I found it would carry into other areas of my life.

Being an educator, I thought both of our daughters would love school and excel in their areas of interest. They did love school, but the love was more aligned with their extra curricular activities. They were no different than I was during my high school years. Friends and activities kept all of us busy and when we were done playing, the homework was completed. Since the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree, I wondered what our grandkids academic experience in high school would look like. My grandkids are no different from their “trees.” They too, are regular teenagers.

Learning Outside the Walls of School

As they were growing up, I wanted to teach them things outside of the educational curriculum I knew they would receive in school. I knew the grandkids would be more receptive to these teachings during their elementary years. Middle school and high school are activity strong years, which is wonderful and how it should be. I also wanted to teach them things their mothers would not be teaching them. I certainly did not want to compete with their moms!

One of our early “classes” was sewing. I chose sewing because I truly thought this was a basic skill where the girls should have some knowledge. And, our grandson was too young to participate, so sewing it was.

Passing Down Life Skills to the Next Generation

Sewing is not one of my better skills but it is one I learned in 4-H back in the 50s. I learned to hem, mend, make minor alterations. It started slowly with tea towels, which I showed at the County Fair. It progressed, or should I say maintained, to where I was able to sew some clothes. The highlight of my sewing career was over 40 years ago. When John and I got married, money was tight and I sewed the dresses the girls wore in our wedding. The dresses were not perfect but at least they held together and did not fall apart during the wedding ceremony. I admit I gave the girls strict instructions to not make any quick moves!

The granddaughters and I had a great time sewing together. Hemming was the first skill they learned and they picked it up quickly. We moved on to the alterations, and I recognized their eyes were getting glazed over. Their attention spans were waning. I felt a bit of triumph, even though I knew clothes designing would not be in their future career plans.

Not All Activities Hold Like a Good Hem

The next sewing event with the granddaughters was during their 4th grade year. This is the year all 4th graders in LPS visit Heritage School. Children are encouraged to wear pioneer clothing, and I was determined to have each of the three granddaughters wear authentic looking dresses. Each year, we purchased material and a pattern of their choosing. The first two years, the girls did a wonderful job being measured, showed patience during multiple fittings and even assisted in completing the hem work. It was a great experience.

I should have realized then the odds of this great experience would probably not continue. The third granddaughter hated every minute of this “great experience” and even refused to attend fittings. I told myself, no problem, I can still sew the dress. The dress was a disaster. It looked like a sack dress made out of pretty material. She was definitely not going to be featured in Little House On the Prairie.

My sewing skills are now limited. Arthritis has limited my ability to complete detail work, but it doesn’t limit me helping my granddaughters with their needed alterations. I still hem prom dresses, but need their assistance threading the needle. I’m glad the girls can still assist me with that job! Thank goodness I taught them the skill, which, in turn, now helps me. Who would have thought?

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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