The Things My Grandpa Taught Me: A Tribute

This new year rang in with little time before the loss of my 90-year-old grandfather. He was a special person, not just to me, but to everyone he met. In times like these, I resort to the same thing. Writing. So here is a little piece of my grandfather that I would like to share with you before getting back to all things YA.

The Things My Grandpa Taught Me

Our lives are made up of a series of moments. On its own, a moment is a simple memory. Applied, these moments transform into life’s most valuable lessons. I’m blessed enough to have too many special moments with my grandfather to count, but what I can count on are the lessons he’s taught me. These lessons will continue to live on in me and will hopefully in my children and my children’s children. From my grandfather, I’ve learned to cherish every simple moment, because you never know the lesson it may teach.

The things my grandpa taught me:

For hard work, there is reward
My grandpa did not believe in handouts. Whether it was a dollar for weeding the garden or scoring the game-winning run after hours of practice, you earn what you work for.

Laziness is not an option.

The value of a penny
I kept a piggy bank as a child. So did my grandpa. He always asked if I was still “saving my pennies” and when I enthusiastically replied yes, he would take me into his office and give me a large jar full of coins. “Well, add this to them,” he would say.

I still keep a piggy bank.

If there was one thing my grandfather believed in the beloved sport of baseball, it was fundamentals. A good throw has a good follow through. If the ball hits your bat, put your head down and run. Keep your eye on the ball.

And such is life.

You can never have too many friends
If my grandpa had a Facebook account, he would have had over 1000 friends. But my grandpa did not have Facebook. He had paper and a pen. He had a car. He had a phone. He had a voice.

And he had friends. Lots of them.

Be proud but not boastful
My grandpa never missed a moment to tout any of his children’s or grandchildren’s hard earned successes, whether we were getting straight A’s or “natural athletes who could excel at any sport.”

But he never hesitated to put us in our place.

Respect for formality
My grandfather respected tradition and formality. He fancied dressing in suits and ties. There were absolutely no baseball hats at the dinner table. And don’t you dare take liberties while singing the National Anthem. There is a time and a place for casual ways but convention and tradition indeed have their place.

I just can’t wear jeans to church.

All things grow with love
Keeping a garden is not an easy task. I know this as my grandpa’s love for gardening has been passed down to me. You can’t make a garden grow. They require ample time, love and patience.

And with patience, comes joy.

Family first
As a parent, I now realize the sacrifice of my grandparents to house and entertain all of their rambunctious grandchildren on New Year’s Eve. It wasn’t until later in life that I could comprehend the greatness of the gift of taking the entire family on a cruise. If there is joy, you celebrate with family. If there is sorrow, you mourn with family.

And today, we do both.

Faith in the Word
I remember climbing onto my grandpa’s lap to read Bible passages. I remember his strong yet comforting voice reading the story of Jesus birth before Christmas dinner. There is no greater gift than the lesson of God’s love, which my grandfather has given me.

And for that, I am and will be eternally grateful.

xo stef wade green