• Remember that learning is its own reward. When you help your grandchildren appreciate this notion, you help them avoid internalizing the belief that learning is behaving, and you give them an essential tool for establishing a sense of self: the ability to think for themselves. Having that ability leads to the greatest means of independence a person can have: the ability to define value for oneself, which provides the foundation for autonomy.
With these as your guiding principles, you will be able to encourage a healthy attitude toward learning in children from an early age. As they progress, look for opportunities to broaden their thinking and support their autonomy. For example:
• And finally-not through your words, but through your actions-help them to realize that there is nothing to fear as one gets increasingly closer to the end of life. This emblazons an image in the minds of young people of the dignity of old age.
The caterpillar is condemned to crawl, but the butterfly has the potential to soar above with an all-inclusive view of the world. As humans we complete our caterpillar stage when we reach mature physical growth. If we are to soar like the butterflies, we must do so through the development of our minds. The enhanced view is always worth the effort. Indeed, the very thing that determines the quality of the later seasons of life is the degree to which we are interested in learning more about the world. Our final stage of human development includes the capacity for rapture as our desire to better understand the world helps to make it a better place for those who live on after us. Our moral concerns shift from the behavior of individuals to global relations and humanity's future. If our efforts bear enough fruit, perhaps we will be remembered as wise. We will have left a lasting legacy, and we will have taken our leave with integrity.