Seniors offer good advice to their juniors

Tablets, iPads, smartboards and learning software weren’t around when today’s grandparents were in school.

They practiced cursive writing using the Palmer method, memorized multiplication tables and diagrammed sentences instead.

Learning methods change, but basic values and morals don’t, and many are trying to pass on some important life lessons to students.

Rosie Cooper, 82, spends a lot of time with her great-granddaughter Faith, a fourth-grader at St. Mary Help of Christians School in Aiken.

She stresses the importance of reading, studying, and staying organized.

“Be friends with everybody you can, avoid any bullying that goes on, participate in class and listen to the teachers,” Mrs. Cooper said. “You should always have respect for the teachers.”

Edie Van DeMark has some concise advice for grandson Chad, a fifth-grader at St. Andrew School in Myrtle Beach. It’s a simple but important rule for a world where everybody, including kids, seems to want to get their opinion out there but doesn’t care much to hear what others have to say.

“Keep your ears open and your mouth closed most of the time,” she said. “Use your words when it’s important to use your words, and use your ears when it’s important to use your ears.”

She also urges Chad to listen to his teachers and look at them as both mentors and educators, and to remember that faith should be at the core of everything he does.

“I respect differences and teach my grandchildren to respect and celebrate differences, but when it comes right down to it, we’re Catholic,” she said. “We need to remember our Catholic values and stick close to the sacraments.”

Paula Koscelnick, 69, volunteers as a tutor and supervises an after-school homework club at St. Michael School in Garden City. She wants students to learn respect for adults and each other, and to realize they are not the most important person in the world.

“The world does not revolve around you and your electronic device,” she said. “We are all disciples of Christ, and whatever age you are, Jesus is calling you to do something to bear that witness in discipleship. It doesn’t matter if a child is in pre-K and someone grabs their doll on the playground. They can still learn how not to respond in anger, how to be a peacemaker.”

Retired U.S. Army Col. James Higgins of Columbia wants grandson Clay Higgins, 13, to learn honesty and integrity in the classroom. He’s heard stories about students who cheat on tests or allow their parents to do their work.

“Because of all the work he has, I tell him to try keep focused on what he has to do, to keep his eyes on the ball,” Col. Higgins said. “Studies have to come first, and then you can prioritize time for other things. If he stays focused and organized, and does what he has to do, there can still be time to play sports and to just be a kid.”