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Uncle Goober tells all

Arthur Graphic-Clarion of Arthur, Illinois

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Wise and Otherwise

Okay, not really, but you never know when the "crazy" uncle is going to speak or write something. My nieces and nephews have endured, enjoyed, struggled, laughed at, and suffered with my antics and storytelling for a long time.

Being the youngest of the youngest, I am actually closer in age to a few of them than to my own sisters. This made me just old enough to babysit and young enough to be an "interesting" influence in their lives. There are many parenting manuals but not many on being an uncle or aunt.

So here are some rules for you to follow for you not just to be a good Uncle, but a great one.

You can teach them to scream or yell on command via either spoken word or hand signal. You need to buy noise-making toys to take home for the parents to enjoy. That way the fun from your house can travel back with the parents.

You have to provide Instruction on the inside the house game which combines soccer, hockey, volleyball, basketball, rugby, and whatever other sport seems to fit the moment. These are not separate games but one game unto itself. You must make sure anything broken is blamed on the pets.

You may teach alternative words to songs as an experiment in diversity and language arts. For example: "Jingle Bells, shotgun shells, Robin laid an egg..." Music appreciation is unique among truly great aunts and uncles.

Be there to provide care and support when Mom and Dad want some peace and quiet with guarantee that child will be worn out upon return. This gets harder as you get older, so train early!

Ice cream, pizza, popsicles, chocolate, and pop are the five food groups for the nieces and nephews. And gum, for that long car ride home.

A backyard pool to be supplied during summer months for water play is optional. Also the Fisher Price Little People Houseboat will be made available for re-creation of tsunami activity on the high seas.

Not many families have tsunamis as part of their history; embrace it!

The surgeon general warns that this could be hazardous to uncle and auntie health in the forms of dislocated body parts especially the older they get. So proceed with unclehood and aunthood with caution.

Intervention between siblings will be provided in case of threatened attacks by scissors, the telephone or a comb as in "I have a comb, and I'm not afraid to use it."

For the right amount of money I will disclose the name of the one who said that. This lesson is called business ethics or lack thereof.

Teach methods of mugging for the camera to insure maximum rolling of eyes when pictures are viewed. Harder to make a funny face these days and. get away with it, but it can be done.

Assist in developing a quick wit and sense of humor to enjoy the many and varied absurdities life always brings your way - you'll really need this one!

You must make shoulders available for tears, arms available for hugs, heart available for unlimited amounts of love, and hands for a pat on the back or a smack upside the head as situation merits.

This can work both ways as the uncle or aunt needs them as they get older and crazier.

Teaching an appreciation is important for the family and friends around you along with all those who have gone before. You are one of us and you need to know our history which is now your history.

Finally, let them know they are surrounded by some pretty amazing people who love them very much Wise advice from an otherwise uncle.

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Original Publication Date: May 21, 2014

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