1. Children are important.
What they say, what they are, and what they think. Make sure you let them know they count. The same things go for teenagers and young adults. Join them in the things they want to do. Listen to them. This attitude kept his grandchildren and great grandchildren eager to see him always.
2 . Your family is all you ever really have.
You have to stick together and care about them even when they don’t deserve it. This made him the guy his brothers went to whenever they had troubles. It impressed on me that I will never be the kind of sister, niece, aunt, daughter or mom who stops talking to my family. He would tell me if I ever thought about it “That’s not the way we do things.”
3 . Sometimes good things come out of bad.
When I was having a rough time he would tell me about the time his cat ate Johnny Raymond’s canary. It led to a great friendship once he convinced Johnny not to beat the hell out of him. Even if nothing good came of my own situation that story always made me laugh.
4. There is really no point in trying to get away with something you don’t want people to know you did.
Someone will always find out. I learned this because every single time my grandfather killed the car battery by leaving the lights on, flooded the kitchen by leaving a tap on or ran out of gas, the person he least wanted to find him would show up. This is why it’s best to own up to mistakes and mishaps.
5 . Visitors are like fish. You don’t want to keep them around too long.
He actually used to say that. It is pretty true though. In general we all need our space and whenever we spend too much time together it can really test us all.
6. Make sure you set boundaries in your life and relationships.
My grandfather was mortified if people talked about their body parts and functions, illnesses or intimate relationships. NO one wants to hear that stuff. My grandfather believed in privacy. He would have loved the acronym TMI .
7. Whether you are happy or sad it’s always good to go for a drive “up the road”.
“Up the Road” could mean a lot a places, a short trip or one that took all day. It was better if someone you loved came along to tell you how lovely the trees, grass, or dirt was, and if you could get ice cream along the way .
8. Love the people you love well.
My grandfather was not the strong silent type . He was okay with having people know he adored my grandmother and all of us. He was good at saying he loved us. This was outside the box for men in his generation. He wasn’t mushy, but he let you know. And it meant a lot .
9. Take advantage of all the good things that come your way.
I learned this from watching my grandfather eat. He was a little imp of a man, but if someone offered dessert he was never too full. If it was pie he would try every kind there was. He wasn’t above sharing a toddler’s chocolate bar with them. Accepting what people offer does something good for you, and for them. We all need that.
10. You need to be in charge of your own direction.
My grandfather was part of a generation in which women often did not drive. I was a late bloomer to driving and he nagged me relentlessly about it. It was only after I could drive that I realized how limited I was without it. I know my grandfather believed we should be strong and capable and independent. Driving yourself is one way to make sure you get to where you are going.
Photo by Donna Leskosek – All Rights Reserved