I had 2 Grandads, growing up. Well, actually a Grandpa and a Grandad.
My Grandpa taught me by example how little I mattered by never getting my name right. He called me “Janey” the whole time I knew him. He never teased or joked, he just didn’t like me. I learned that because I’m a female, he thought I was worthless. I despised him, so much so, I refused to go to his funeral when he passed on my Junior year of High School.
My Grandad called me by my name, never got it wrong. He also called me “Sunshine”, and “Punkin” (his way of saying “pumpkin”). He taught me work ethics and the importance of respecting and valuing others. He had all sorts of stories about knowing Jesse James (he lived on the farm down the street from my great grandparents) as a child before he became an outlaw, meeting Bonnie and Clyde during his days as a security guard on a train before they turned to crime, and his having met Buffalo Bill Cody. I wish I had paid closer attention to his stories, so I could pass them on to my own kids.
My Grandad was a hard worker, and he placed value on others by the work effort they demonstrated, as well. He had the best garden with the yummiest “pickins’ ” I still have ever seen or tasted. He would pay my brother and I a dime to pull weeds each summer. Then as he held the dime out to give to us, he would tell us a story about how that was a day’s wage when he was a kid, or how bread used to cost a nickel a loaf. I never forgot those facts.
He also taught me, consistently, that the effort I put into the work I did would tell people more about me than I could with words. It tells people whether I respect them or not, whether I have self-respect, and if I would be willing to go that extra mile and put in extra hours when needed. In my heart of hearts, work ethics are more important than most things.
Health issues frustrate and keep me from doing all I really want to do. I am trying to pass on to my kids all I learned from my Grandad. I think they are getting it, but sometimes I wonder. Then again, I bet my Grandad wondered if he was getting through to me, and his lessons and example are still some of the strongest bricks of the foundation of my character and person.
So, maybe one day, I will be pleasantly surprised by my own kids really getting it.