Father’s Day Treat: Sage and Heartfelt Advice and Other Stuff From a Wise Grandpa

Hard working author and family man Jim Knipp has put a great deal of hard work into his latest endeavor and labor of love, Stuff Every Grandfather Should Know.

Published just in time for Father’s Day, the wise little book is a lovely and informative read and recounts how Knipp’s life was transformed when he became a “Pop Pop” or grandfather nearly six years ago.

The informative – and often humorous book – runs the gamut from diapering and enforcing rules, bedtime stories, bonding, teething pain, kid safety, not overstepping boundaries with the child’s parents and much, much more.

The creator of the humor blog KnippKnopp and a frequent contributor to the pop culture site Biff Bam Pop, Knipp’s work has been published in Philly Flash Inferno and the anthologies Long Tales and Short Stories From South Jersey and E-Spec Books In a Flash.

Stuff Every Grandfather Should Know is his first book.

In the charming and memorable book are Five Golden Nuggets of Parenting Wisdom to Share, which includes the following child-rearing tips: have patience, forget the small stuff, make time, listen and observe, and laughter truly is the best medicine.

“If your child wants to sleep upside down in bed or wear cowboy boots to a fancy party, let her. As long as she’s not endangering herself, let her be silly,” Knipp advises. “It will make everyone happy, and in 20 years, it won’t matter that she wore fairy wings to class picture day.”

[James Knipp’s adorable granddaughter, Lily Jane, at the beach]

What is the main life lesson here?  

Jim Knipp: I would say it is that “wonderful things” can come out of less-than-optimal circumstances.

What do you want/hope your readers will get out of your new book Stuff Every Grandfather Should Know?  

That grandfathers come in all shapes and sizes, and aren’t necessarily old! Did you know the average age of a first-time grandparent is about 50?  I remember when we found out she was on the way, my first thought was I was way too young to be a grandfather (I was 45), and then I realized I was only about two years younger than my own parents were when my first child was born. 

Please tell me more.

I also hope they see that there are other things to think about as a grandfather, including your own health and finances, and the new relationships (and changes to the old ones) that you’re going to form.

How old is your lovely granddaughter Lily Jane?  

Almost six.

What is your favorite aspect of being a grandpa?  

Funny, my favorite things are those that I miss most about being a dad!  When I stop by the house and she yells “PopPop” and runs over for a big hug. Watching her cuddle up with a book and her favorite stuffed animal.  Seeing the wonder on her face as she learns and accomplishes new things.  That phase of childhood seemed to fly by for her mom and her aunts, so it’s great to have it back!  

How do you spend your free time together?  

Our latest and greatest fun thing is storytelling, usually on long drives.  I’ll start her off with a prompt, and she’ll run with it in fantastic ways.  The kid’s got an incredible imagination (just like her mom).  We’ll also take walks around the yard looking for turtles, birds, and other interesting wildlife. And she is most certainly a beach baby, so we try to get her running around the sand as much as possible.

How has being a grandpa changed your life?

It’s definitely added some degree of complexity!  It’s also added a lot of new perspective, and a greater understanding of what is important in life, and there are many moments of pure, unfettered joy.

[Author and loving grandfather James Knipp]

What is your Father’s Day plan this year?  

Does yard work count?

Is grandfatherhood easier than fatherhood?  

SO MUCH EASIER! I like to say it’s all the joy of parenthood with half the responsibility. There’s so much pressure on being a parent (especially for the first time), you’re convinced that you’re going to do something wrong, that someone is going to judge you for those mistakes, the sheer terror that you are responsible for keeping these little balls of energy (with no sense of self-preservation) alive …it’s a whole lot of pressure!!! 

What other differences are there?

As a grandfather, that pressure is minimized and you get to focus mostly on the fun parts. Of course, there are some new stressers.  After all, you never stop wanting to protect your children, even when they are adults, so your inclination is to continue to try to steer them, provide them advice, hoping to help them avoid making the same mistakes (or make new ones), and it’s hard knowing when to hold your tongue and where to step in.  Life is a never-ending learning process!

Are you mellower as a grandpa then you were as a father?

Way, way more mellow, and I think it’s really a question of gaining some perspective (and maybe a little wisdom) by this point in life. You have a better feel for what’s important, and realize a lot of the things you thought were so important, really weren’t. And the things that annoyed you or made you lose your temper (something I was guilty of way too often), turned out to be just your kid being your kid, and getting angry reflected more on you then it did them.  

What was the best part of writing this book? 

Wow, that’s hard to quantify because it was such a whirlwind experience. I think the time from offer to finish was something like four months, and for a slow-worker like me, it seemed to pass in about 15 days!  I’d have to say working with the editors at Quirk was way up there.  My non-fiction credentials are limited to my blog, and even those posts tend to veer towards pop culture and goofy, surreal humor, which is not what this book needed.  The editors helped work me through the process, honed down “a helluva lotta” ragged edges, and helped me learn a little about the industry.  

Do you have anything else to say about this?

Writing the dedication page to my granddaughter might have been my favorite part.  I have this image of her showing her own children someday that she had a book dedicated to her.

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