We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I plan to keep myself in fighting shape so I can fulfill that job, or duty, or whatever you call it. Little boys, little girls, whatever comes my way. I am prepared.
My plan them is to teach my family ways, to transfer my culture. I will talk with them about books, I will take them on hikes in the woods, I will teach them my secrets about the trees and the birds and amphibians and reptiles and fish and wildflowers, and all of their names. I will teach them how to use a hand saw and a table saw, and how to screw a screw and how to nail a nail. How to make a rustic outdoor table.
I will quote to them from Milton, the Bible, and Shakespeare while I take them on fishing hikes to mountain lakes, valley streams, Atlantic bays, and the ocean itself. I know from myself that grandkids remember every word their grandfathers utter and every bit of lore they convey.
I will reprimand them when they behave uncivilly or in an unsportsmanlike manner. I will teach them firearms and archery. I will teach them how to comport themselves at my NYC club, and how to dine with adults in an adult venue. I would be happy to introduce them to sailing craft, or handling powerboats for that matter. I will expose them to serious music and talk to them about it. I will encourage them towards the discipline of making serious music, or any music.
My two grandpas together helped teach me all of these things and I am forever grateful for that. My Mom and Dad were busy with all of the other kids, plus work of course.
I learned a lot besides all that from my two genteel Grandpas, including how to handle hunting dogs (Don't give them an inch, or they'll take a mile"), handling horses ("Dumb as rocks. Show them who's boss, and they will do anything you want."), and driving tractors on New England hills ("attend to the angles").
They also taught me how to speak with adults. "Ask them about themselves. Learn all you can from them."
Sports? I am no athlete but I would be joyful to swat tennis balls with a kid or kids for hours. Just buy me a couple of beers after as compensation. Interest and cheerful cooperation are required. I am sorry, but the business-essential art of golf is not in my repertoire.
My own Christmas kids are the best, and I will welcome some Christmas grandkids when the time is ripe.
I'm going to be a Grandpa in about 2 weeks. Never thought it would happen. I wonder if I'm still around they'll even listen to me.
PS. Your grandpa was right about horses. I wrangled up in Montana and 9 out of 10 are dumb as hell.
I have been a grandfather for over a decade now. It doesn't happen as you think it will. You are going to have to whittle down that culture-sharing list pretty severely, so choose what's most important first.
Some of it will happen serendipitously, of course. We had given up on most musical sharing, when this year the girls suddenly decided that taking turns choosing Christmas carols while riding in the car was the best thing ever. We therefore offered to drive them to events their parents were also going to. But such things are rare.
Assistant Village Idiot
We try and do all of the things you mention and give them old time common sense and values. If you find yourself with a more PC son or daughter in law get ready to get some backlash when you teach them conservative values instead of what is PC. Keep trying to instill in them the things you value most in life and would like them to value also. Last night our son texted that our one grandson said "I am so glad MeMaw and PawPaw are alive!" We gave them a replacement Wii for their old one that quit functioning so they could once again play all their old Wii games. Teach them, teach them and continue to teach them as they are little sponges.
I'm one of those Grandpa's. I'm 70 and my grandson is 3 and granddaughter is 18 months. See them every day and just being there is a huge benefit. They soak up everything. The grandson loves fire engines, trucks, construction equipment. airplanes and on and on. He knows all about excavators and backhoes and front end loaders and can explain stabilizers and hydraulics. Some days we go to construction sites and just watch. My grandaughter loves animals so a trip to the zoo or to the local farm is a real treat. And both are big on dinosaurs. Moms and Dads are busy but grandparents can pay attention 100% of the time ...so that's what we do.
Being a grandparent is a special blessing, but also brings its challenges. One forgets how preschoolers think, and has to go back to that time. The grandbrats don't always appreciate the pearls of wisdom we try to pass on, but we persevere. We love them to bits, pray for them regularly, and do our best when actually having to cope with them in person. It's a joy watching them grow up and change, and a lot of fun observing their machinations (they're all still very young chez nous) and conniving. Toddler logic is still evident, but we're watching them growing and expanding their horizons.