5 Universal Rules Of Wisdom My Grandparents Taught Me
My grandma is a quiet woman. She’s got quick, capable hands and the slightly crass tendency to just “tell it like it is,” which people who don’t take things in good humor find off-putting. She doesn’t have the urge to fill every silence with chatter, but when she does speak, she doesn’t mince words. As the oldest of six children, authority was something she learned early on and it became a natural part of her.
Sometimes it’s odd for me to think that the man she married is my grandfather, who often feels like her complete opposite. Cheerful, talkative, and quick to sass me when I’m in a bad mood, he’s one of the friendliest people I know. But then I look at them and remember that he makes my grandmother laugh with that unrestrained, booming laughter that fills the room, and she makes him stronger, more resolute.
They love me and every lesson they gave me was given to me in such a subtle, unassuming way that it struck a deep chord in me and made me the person I am today. Because I love them back and because they’ve told me some pretty clever things, I want to share their words in the hope that they might inspire you just as they did me.
SEE ALSO: Death & Dying: The Good Bits
1) Try, Try Again
This lesson came over a very long period of time. From the first time, my grandma was teaching me how to bake cookies as a kid, to the time I failed my driver’s test for the second time as a teen. When I cried after my first batch came out of the oven all charred and inedible, all she said was, “Okay. Now let’s try again, sweetie.” She made it such a no-big-deal kind of moment, barely even blinked when it happened.
When I failed to get a driver’s license right away, it was the same thing. The sheer calm of her reactions, the absolute unshakable faith that this is nothing more than a bump on the road made me approach every single situation in my life with a lot more eagerness. Does it still suck to fail? Yeah, absolutely. But now I’m no longer scared of it and that made all the difference.
2) Some Pain will Make You Stronger
Of course, try telling this to a teenager who just broke up with her first boyfriend. Still, I’ve learned that some pain can be good if you allow yourself to grow from it. To pause, examine the situation, and learn from your own mistakes.
3) Laugh at Yourself
I learned this one mostly from my grandpa, who still laughs more than any other person I know. When he makes a mistake he’s the first to make a joke about it, and I’ve never seen him get offended if others make a lighthearted joke either. I think he’s the sole reason my emo period during the teens was so short – it’s very difficult to take yourself seriously when your grandpa decides to wear a leather jacket similar to yours at a family dinner and asks his wife to smudge black around his eyes to be “appropriately cool.”
He just taught me to laugh at myself, at life, and to remember to keep my heart light and brave and joyful whenever I can. He and my grandma are currently enjoying their retirement living in comfort and they’re having the time of their lives. He still calls me every week to chat and to let me know that his book club parties are great and that I need to step up my game if I want to keep up with him.
4) Be Present in the Lives of People You Care About
Once college is done, it’s surprisingly difficult to stay in touch unless you organize your time well. My grandma always told me that I’ll have to determine who’s really important to me and who I want in my life because I won’t be able to stay close to everyone. And it was absolutely true, once you start working, once you get married and the children come into your life, you’ll only have a limited amount of free time. So, make sure it counts.
5) Forget Beauty, Embrace Strength
My grandma is not really a huge looker and she’ll be the first to say it. Try telling that to my grandpa, though. He just doesn’t see anything other than the most beautiful woman in the world and doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks. The point is, it’s not even that beauty fades over time and you should look beyond it, it’s that your bravery, kindness, and confidence count for a lot more, they are the things that make you fun and interesting to be around. Be more than just a pretty face. Well, if there’s one thing to take from my article, it’s this: call your family. Tell them how much you love them. Trust me, it’ll mean a lot to both them and you.
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