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Weekly Reader 5.16.11

9/11 and adult children

A group of American University students used social media to survey more than a 1,000 young adults about “Growing Up in the Shadow of 9/11.” Those surveyed were in elementary, middle or high school at the time of the  attacks. In a coincidence of timing, the survey was released a few days before the killing of Osama bin Laden.  More than 70 percent said that their lives were changed by events of 9/11, and that their perceptions were influenced by what their teachers and parents told them.

In my undergraduate class following the SEAL mission, students were happy that bin Laden was killed but did not agree with some of the partying in celebration.   Most were in 7th grade in 2001 and several who grew up in the metro area related not knowing whether parents were dead or alive, and were still sobered by the events of that day. One student noted that for “half our lives we’ve been living with terrorism and two wars.” Her words echoed one of the American students who explained to the Washington Post why some students drove to cheer outside the White House the night President Obama made the announcement:

“We have spent half of our lives in a time of war,”said Ashley Bright, 25, the project’s assignment editor. “This is the first victory, the first tangible victory.”

Facebook Friends with Grandma

So reports the Wall Street Journal in “OMG! My Grandparents R My BFF!” Thanks to a perfect storm of  “demographics and technology”  many grandparents and their grandchildren are connecting online on a daily basis.  Grandparents, as it turns out, are quick to adapt to technology and have the disposable income to buy laptops, smart phones and iPads. They go online and guess who else is there? The tweens and teens. (Are the ever not online?) The older and younger generations play Scrabble, Skype, send homemade videos, and text the time away.

Mary Madden, a senior research specialist with the Pew Research Center, explains:

“Seniors who have recently retired, teens and young adults just beginning their lives are all going through very significant changes. And this social networking and communicating can be a very powerful force in helping them move forward.”

Don’t call her Granny!

In other grandparenting news,  Gwyneth Paltrow told a TV interviewer that her mother, Blyth Danner,  was “hot” and didn’t want to be called grandma.  Her preferred moniker?  “Woof”!
In “Who Are You Calling Grandma?” The New York Time reported that Ms. Danner is representative of a trend:

Resistant to being called anything that makes them sound old, baby-boomer grandparents have taken to accepting toddlers’ neologisms and ethnic variations or, better yet, naming themselves.

Some been-there-done-that advice.  Grandkids usually come up with their own names for you!

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