How to be a grandparent by example

How to be a grandparent by example

Home-cooked food, calm thinking and always voting is the recipe of a 107-year-old Irish woman

There’s no way you haven’t encountered the following paradox – grandparents who claim there’s nothing they love more than their grandkids, while at the same time slathering them with lollipops, chips, and all sorts of junk food. They also allow them to do things they once forbade their own children. In general, they act as if someone reprogrammed them and took away their rationality.

Some call this a generational difference in matters of upbringing. Others find it part of the aging process as you begin to pick your battles. Whatever the reasons, the question of personal example in such situations is often absent, and in the minds of children that red light of doubt goes on that what mom and dad said is probably not quite right, after it is denied or easily bypassed by their mom and dad. father. As a result, toddlers begin to accept those rules that seem easier to follow and emulate whichever adult they find funniest at the moment. And the bigger the age difference, the more serious deviations in children’s behavior can occur. For example, teenagers suddenly start moving slightly bent with their hands behind their back, imitating their grandfathers, or wanting to lie down on the sofa with the motive that their lower back hurts like them.

Of course, these are extremes, but they show very well how contagious the example set by the oldest family members can be. Often they are not aware of this key role or they think that some things are a priori forgiven because of their old age.

However, a 107-year-old Irish woman recently showed that this is not quite the case. The news of Bridget Tierney celebrating her last birthday went around the world because of the incredible spirit this retired farmer passed on to the next generations of her large family. She remains interested in politics and hasn’t missed an election since she got the right to vote. She has an excellent memory and still remembers her first day at school when she was only 4 years old.

“I try to keep my brain in good working order – doing crosswords, watching quizzes and keeping up with world events,” Bridget told the Irish Independent. For as long as she can remember, she has always eaten home-cooked meals, worked hard and had a laid-back attitude towards life. I don’t cook so much anymore, but I help wash the dishes after meals, says the centenarian.

She gave birth to 6 girls and 3 boys, of whom she has 30 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. Everyone manages to line up through her house when she celebrates her birthday in early July. “It is a pleasure to communicate with her. It brings a sense of peace and happiness to all of our lives. Mom was widowed in 1983. Until then she worked hard on the farm alongside our father Patrick. When we lost our brother Vincent last year, she was a support for everyone in that difficult time,” says daughter Kitty Cullen.

Granddaughter Deirdre Tierney flies all the way from Florida to be part of Bridget’s celebration. “I am very happy that I can spend this important birthday with my grandmother. I hated to miss this chance during the pandemic as visiting her always gives me a sense of peace, calm and pride. She is a living legend”, says the granddaughter.

Her cousin Victoria Zanella feels the same way. She took a trip from Italy to her grandmother’s home in Ireland last year with her two children. “I had to quarantine for two weeks before I saw her, but it was worth it. She is a source of knowledge, love and is the rock in our family. I always leave meetings with her calm and confident,” explains Zanella.

Bridget Tierney has lived through two world wars and two pandemics and at no point has she lost her calm attitude towards life. She credits this as a key factor in her longevity, as well as eating in moderation, and only home-cooked food. Even now she still gets up early and makes porridge for breakfast. She has never smoked or drunk alcohol, and she has never flown on an airplane.

“I can still recite the poetry I learned in school. I try to keep my mind active and up to date with current events. I vote in every election and I’m proud of it,” says the 107-year-old Irish woman. Another thing he values ​​a lot is good manners. He believes that for pleasant communication between people, they are just as important today as they were 100 years ago, and also a good sense of humor. Because of him and the sound advice he always gives, Bridget Tierney has become a mentor not only to her heirs, but also to her Lafduff villagers.

“I like to be active and I love it when my grandchildren call to say they’re coming for a Saturday meal with me, because family meal time is everything,” admits the centenarian. Then she necessarily goes into the kitchen and makes their favorite potato cakes. He makes sure to light the fire every day, rain or shine, as “it keeps the house cosy”. “I prioritize the things that must be done and I don’t panic. This is the way I’ve lived my life. I always try to stay calm and never eat canned food, only fresh produce,” explains Bridget Tierney. During the coronavirus pandemic, she also did not lose her composure, although for nearly two years she could see most of her children and grandchildren, who do not live with her, only through the window. For her, this is enough because she has learned that happiness is built from small things, and so many people continue to rely on her smile and guide them through life with her calm and straightforward attitude towards it. For her, this means a strong faith and a very developed sense of good and evil – things with which she never compromises.

Things that help to reach a century

Longevity is not just a gift from God, as many people think. A number of studies show that centenarians live in certain regions and have similar lifestyles. They are called blue zones and there are such in California, Costa Rica, Italy, Greece and Japan.

The things centenarians have in common are a life with less stress, healthy eating and family happiness. Since stress is linked to many diseases, long-lived people usually make time in their daily lives for activities that reduce it. In Greece and Italy, for example, it is the nap, in Japan it is the ritual tea ceremony. Try anything that helps your mind and body rest, and focus on something light, from doing a crossword puzzle to knitting, the researchers advise.

Also, increase your intake of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, nuts, seeds and fruits, and decrease your consumption of meat and dairy products. Make sure you drink in moderation, as studies have shown that low-drinkers live longer than people who abstain completely.

Another thing that the researchers found is that the inhabitants of the blue zones are very sociable and enjoy family happiness. They often gather in groups to play various games, such as chess, during which they converse actively. They also meet their relatives very often. However, in their culture there are no gatherings to feast and drink after a long abstinence. In most cases, they do not overeat. In Japan, they even have a rule to fill up only about 80% to help with digestion.

A very important factor in longevity is the pursuit of a goal. Whether it’s meeting a friend, feeding a pet or going out to get groceries, any activity leads to a positive outlook on life that increases the chances of reaching 100, researchers say.