When I was born, I was lucky enough to have not only four living grandparents, but two great-grandmothers. They all lived within 30 miles of us in New Jersey, so I got to see them every few months. I’m still blessed to have my maternal grandfather in my life, as well as his wonderful wife.
Here are some tidbits of wisdom my grandparents imparted to me:
- My paternal grandmother told me to fear the sun. Like me, she was very fair-skinned, and spent a lot of time in the sun playing golf. It’s no surprise that she got skin cancer. I took her advice to heart, and sit at my indoor computer instead of playing golf.
- My paternal grandfather gave me a bound ledger and taught me how to balance my checkbook. I used it throughout college, and have it stored away somewhere. I think he would have loved today’s finance programs and spreadsheets.
- My maternal grandfather told me to be sure to learn how to communicate well. He ran his own ad agency, so he valued printed words and images. I used to love reading his books about graphic art and advertising. After 1,500 blog posts, it’s safe to say I took his advice to heart.
- I never knew my mother’s mother, since she died when my mom was a little girl. She was a math major in college, and I wonder if I inherited her interest in numbers.
- Although I never knew my maternal grandmother, my grandfather remarried, and then remarried again when his second wife also died. Neither of my step-grandmothers sat me down and told me specific advice, but I’ve learned from both. From Ruth I learned the value of manners and hard work. She was a wonderful cook, and would set the Christmas table with so much silverware that each person had a salt spoon and a pepper spoon. We were expected to know what to do with everything in front of us. From Janet I’ve learned the value of loving life. She’s one of the most optimistic people I know, and everyone loves her.
- When my parents remarried, I gained two step-grandparents via my stepfather. They didn’t teach me anything specific either, but both modeled strong family relationships and a long-lasting marriage.
Count your blessings and appreciate and learn from your elders. And as you age, remember that what you say to the next generation might just stick.
For your viewing pleasure, my paternal grandparent’s wedding video: