A new phase in my life begins in less than two months from now. This prospect is all-at-once joyous, staggering, and humbling. You see, I am becoming a grandfather. There’s an ancient proverb that says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men.” While I don’t particularly feel that old, I can understand how becoming a grandfather can be the “crowning” experience of fatherhood. For the first time in my life I am suddenly aware of the gravity of how precious the gift of life is and the importance of building a legacy intended to guide my grandchildren through the labyrinth of their own personal journeys.
Being a grandfather means being there. It means sharing your stories and teaching lessons learned. Being a grandfather is being a mentor, a coach, a champion, and a friend all rolled up into one. It’s a big job, but I know how to do this because I learned from the best. The legacies of my father and grandfathers taught me so much. Their wisdom was so valuable to me, that I have decided to pay it forward to my children’s children in the hope that they will come to know the power of family and the value of appreciating everything that life has to offer.
To my grandchild, I offer these bits of wisdom:
- Love is the greatest gift in life, and giving it is as important as receiving it.
- Always look for the beauty in all things. You may find it where you least expect it.
- Search for the good in people. It is a gift that will reap giant rewards.
- Be thankful for what you have. And do not envy those who you think have more.
- Never think you have learned all there is to learn. Learning is a lifelong process.
- If a friend offers you drugs or wants you do something that you think is bad, they are not really your friend.
- You are never alone in life. There are over 6 billion people on this earth. You can always find someone to talk to and befriend.
- What you have for your possessions is always more valuable when you have worked for them.
- Behold the majesty in every sunrise and the splendor in each sunset.
- Don’t be afraid to change directions. You may find an exciting new path to follow.
- Whoever tells you that you can never go home is dead wrong. When needed, may you always find your family’s front door open.
- Learn to read a good book and expand your horizons. Books open your mind to possibilities.
- Getting dirty working to get a job done is always worth it. You can shower later.
- Don’t be afraid to get a black eye. Fighting for something that you believe in is good.
- Never express hatred for anyone. It will eat at your self-respect.
- Remember where you came from. It will make it easier moving forward.
- Don’t refuse a good challenge. Accepting it could lead to a major accomplishment.
- Accept the fact that sometimes you could be wrong. Admitting it will be right.
- There is never any shame in asking for help. Never be too proud to offer it to someone else in return.
- Your life journey will be filled with many detours. However, somewhere up ahead the road will always become straight again.
- Do not judge anyone by what they look like on the outside. You may find a real friend on the inside.
- Never be afraid to say I am sorry. It will make wounds easier to heal.
- Respect the other person’s opinion and beliefs. You will receive the same in return.
- Be proud of your heritage. Read and learn about your ancestors and the rich histories they made.
- Remember that you are a product of your parent’s love. Let them know it.
- You had no possible way of knowing my parents or grandparents as I did. You need to know that they were good people who would have loved you greatly.
- I am part of you and you are part of me.
- May you be blessed with children and grandchildren as I was. When you look into their innocent, beautiful eyes I hope that you see a small bit of me there.
- If your grandchildren are going to learn values, if you are going to leave a legacy, who better to support your children in transmitting wisdom to their children than you?
Grandparents have much to share. If you find yourself at the milestone marking that crowning moment of becoming a mentor, a coach, a champion, and a friend all rolled up into one, take a moment and make a difference by sharing your wisdom with your grandchildren. Sometime in mid-November, I will welcome my grandson, Royce, into the world. His promise is my gift. I will be there for him, and give him the gifts bestowed upon me so many years ago because life is a beautiful and wondrous thing.