Lessons from Grandpa #4


Me & Grandpa – November 1980

As a child, growing up with my grandparents wasn’t always easy. My grandmother was very strict and old school, while my grandfather was equally strict and expected my brother and I to respect our elders. We knew the boundaries and sometimes we would get in serious trouble for just saying little things that really weren’t all that bad compared to some of the things our peers were saying. Simply making a joke would often get us in serious trouble. Any time at all that one of us said something that my grandfather didn’t approve of he would say,


“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I can still remember sitting at the dinner table one day with my grandfather while he opened up a can of sardines to eat. Those sardines smelled so bad and being young and naive, I didn’t think before I spoke about how gross I thought they were. It was explained to me that it’s wrong to even say anything negative about what someone else was eating.Β It was drilled into our heads every single day. We were never allowed to make fun of people or say anything negative about others. We also learned to be kind to others at a young age and we weren’t even allowed to use the word hate.

imagesHere lately, the internet, news, and radio have been nothing but nasty. Social media has been completely covered with negative ads, tweets, rants, and news containing everything from racism, people bashing the President of the U.S., nuclear issues with North Korea and countless negative information that I don’t want to see or read. With our young generation spending so much time online, I fear that they are witnessing too much hate and internalizing it. I worry that it’s going to get worse. Here lately I’ve been wondering, when did it get this bad?

Then, a few days ago, I had to call in to request a repair for our garage door which was recently struck by lightning. The man that came out was African American and is just an overall nice guy. I remembered him because he’s been here before and he’s just so kind and positive. As I stood out in my garage chatting, we got to talking about our kids starting school, summer flying by, and how he got lost trying to find my house. We laughed and carried on as my little ones were running around and my two older children were standing there listening to our conversation. As he explained what he repaired and got ready to leave, I offered him some freshly baked pumpkin bread to take with him. Then we got to talking about differentΒ breads and dieting. It was fun, but it was at that moment that I realized my kids were learning a lesson. It doesn’t matter what color our skin is or how different we are, we are all human and we are all unique in our own ways. At that moment, they were witnessing a positive social connection and they were witnessing this from an adult they love and respect. As we waved at the repair man leaving, my youngest son said, “He’s such a nice man.” I agreed and explained that it pays to be kind and makes you feel great inside. We went about our day.5260c1c8ae8f68017692a4b7a09a323c

This event got me thinking about how powerful we are as parents and how we are in control of our children’s minds. We have the power to mold them and lead them in the right direction. We can teach our kids while they’re young about caring for others and help them to understand that people have different colors, shapes, sizes, and cultures and that’s okay. Children learn ethical values from us, just like I learned from a young age from my grandfather. If we outlaw trash talking and teach our kids how to be considerate, we can help fight the hate. If people could just think before they talk and refrain from using words that hurt, so many problems could be fixed.

Here’s a beautiful song by Tim McGraw titled “Humble and Kind.” It says so much.

I realize it’s not that simple, but I think it starts with my grandfather’s quote…


What do you think about this lesson? Please feel free to share your thoughts below…Have a beautiful day!

29 thoughts on “Lessons from Grandpa #4

  1. Nel

    See? You’re a wonderful mother! In all seriousness though, this is a great lesson that everyone needs to learn. Often people forget that these lessons start at home; that nobody is born hating another race. Being an African American myself I can only hope any future children I have will learn this lesson well and can fight hate with kindness always. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. David R. Dowdy

    Talking with a stranger and showing kindness destroys hate. Your grandfather taught you well and you’re passing the lesson to your children. Cheers to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Absolutely beautifully put. My Grandfather used to say the same thing to me, the very strange thing was that when I reached my early twenties I learned he was terribly bigoted. It absolutely broke my heart as it’s the only thing we ever argued about, and argue hard we did. I have several members of my family I have the same problem with and it drives me nuts, I can let a lot of things go but not that. I always see everyone as an equal and can’t understand anybody doing differently.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I absolutely loved the story!! And the lesson within it- is something that we all need to think about more often!! Hatred is very much a learned feeling. We are not born with hatred in our heart, it is taught to us by those before us.
    May your writings continue to be blessed with such inspiration and deep meaning that we all take heed from those lessons!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. πŸ™‚ They mean so much. What you say is so true-we aren’t born with it and it becomes learned behavior quite easily. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. πŸ™‚ β™‘

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah, your grandparents seem like such beautiful people. And you in turn sent a beautiful message to your children. So important!

    I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! No obligation to participate, but I wanted to acknowledge your blog and share the blogging love ❀ If you'd like to check it out, it's here One Lovely Blog Award


    Liked by 2 people

  6. Noriko

    Jenn, this post is simply beautiful and resonated with me… I actually went through a similar childhood like yours for being born to a Buddhist monk; we were drilled into humility and moral sense.
    Your post inspired me so much, let me reblog this post to spread your beautiful thoughts.. Thank you, Jenn. You are beaurifulπŸ˜ŠπŸ’–

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Noriko

    Reblogged this on Diary of a Bookfiend and commented:
    Here’s a post from my beautiful one and only Mischenko that teaches us how important it is for us NOT to paint others based on preconceived, discriminatory ideas and skin colors and everything.

    Being born to a Buddhist monk, I went through a similar childhood myself and was drilled into moral sense and humility since my early age.

    It is quite easy to bash whatever that you don’t like or things that don’t go the way you want. But I do think it is hugely important to take a moment and reflect what significant repercussions our deeds and words can have; what big an impact our conducts can possibly have on others.
    Are we doing that enough right now?? Haven’t we lost sight of how important it is to care about what others might feel??
    Constructive criticism is all fine, but just lashing out whatever you don’t care is totally different from the former.

    Please take a moment and read this beautiful, thought-provoking post.

    Thank you so much, Jenn, for this beautiful post. You’ve made my day.

    With love,

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I found your blog through Goodreads and so glad I did. Beautiful words and it’s wonderful to start today, Sunday, with the words in your blog post and the words in Tim McGraw’s song. ❀
    ~ Barbara

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I always enjoy the posts about your grandfather. Having been raised by my grandparents as well, these resonate with me very powerfully. I’m glad you have his wisdom to keep with you even after he’s gone. This was a beautiful and very heartfelt post. Got a little choked up actually.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Vanessa, thank you. You’re such a great friend and I enjoy your comments so much. It makes me feel so wonderful that others enjoy reading what I have to say and you’re always so kind to me. I enjoy hearing about your grandfather too! I’m happy that we have that in common as well as other things. I hope you have a magnificent day today and thanks for sharing your heartwarming comments. ❀

      Liked by 2 people

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