Every so often, I get a phone call or email from folks who are intrigued by the term ‘Granny Cloud’ and run with the assumption that it is some sort of community for ‘elderly’ folks attempting to make the ‘golden years’ a little more meaningful and enjoyable. And truth be told – a sense of purpose and joy are very much part of the Granny Cloud experience. But these are incidental, fringe benefits. Not only does the Granny Cloud include men and women, it also has Grannies of all ages. Our current youngest Granny is 25!
But the real misconception is about what the purpose of the Cloud is. We are only too happy when Grannies report a sense of energy even an early morning session brings, and we delight in the bonds that grow – often lasting for years and years beyond the interaction of the children with the Grannies in their ‘labs’.
Sometimes the bonds that are forged even lead Grannies to forget the essential purpose. Which is to be there for the children. For the children in many different ways, and for many different children. To refresh yourself about the goals check them out again. Goals of Granny sessions
Over the years, one of the things we have learnt is that ALL kinds of sessions are useful. “One off” sessions that simultaneously bring with them the possibility that they may never again connect with the same group of children. Though Grannies worry about the extent of impact they might have in just one interaction…. And we also have ‘regular’ sessions where Grannies meet with the same children every week (week after week) at the same time. These kind of sessions are not feasible in the community settings but are possible in school settings and often Grannies and children revel in this ongoing, steady relationship that leads to the comfort arising from the familiarity of a ‘known territory’. In this situation the Grannies are able to see for themselves the change or progress in the children from one week to the next.
But there is a danger. It is easy to forget that children enjoy novelty, that they can gain much from an exposure to many different perspectives, styles, and Granny experiences. Just as it is easy to forget that even if we are connecting with children just once – we leave with them a bit of ourselves and it is not for the momentary thrill that we are making that Skype connection!
As I said, both kinds of interaction have their strengths and their limitations. Regular Sessions can descend into ‘taking things for granted’, or even a lack of interest often disguised under politeness, with the children’s ‘power to drive the session’ slowly whittled away. While ‘one-off’ sessions and meeting a brand new Granny at every session can disintegrate into just tiny, quick, introductory activities with basic names and interests being shared without ever proceeding to an in-depth exploration of an idea.
So, regular sessions bring with them close bonds, exploration of themes at various levels, carrying projects through to logical ends; while ‘one-off’ sessions bring with them novelty and the ability to interact with different kinds of people, as well as an exposure to different experiences and perspectives. Both kinds of sessions have their place in the larger context of The Granny Cloud efforts.
But irrespective of what kind of session a Granny prefers to engage in, there is one key issue in common that we should not lose sight of. The sessions are for the children and what THEY stand to gain from these. Anything we get out of it is a bonus!
This implies a lack of possessiveness… It means a sense of detachment without losing the caring… It means encouraging the children to explore further afield, ensuring that they can move on…
It means being able to let go…