Today is my grandfather’s birthday. I got reminders about it all week and a memory previously shared, popped up on Facebook today.
My Granddaddy was a great man. I loved him dearly and I know he loved me too. I was his first grandchild, the one who made him Grandaddy but, you can be sure, he loved all of his grandchildren.
My grandfather had a strong influence on my life. These are a few of the values I learned from him.
Faith is Foremost
My grandfather’s faith was important. He took me to church every Sunday for years, until I could drive myself. On a typical Sunday, he and my grandmother would take me to church, have Sunday lunch at their house with the entire family, nap in front of the television while watching a golf tournament then go back to church that evening. He loved his church and he loved his Lord.
Family is Fundamental
My grandfather loved family. My memories are filled with family gatherings, traditions and vacations. At one time, my grandparents, all of their four children and eight grandchildren lived in the same neighborhood. Cousins were nearly as close as siblings. We ate lunch together every Sunday and we celebrated Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas together every year. And sometimes, we got together just for fun — a watermelon treat or a huge churn of homemade ice cream on a hot summer day.
Extended family was also important. My grandfather had eight brothers and sisters. The “Big Nine” along with their families met every year, the last weekend in July in a small south Georgia town. My grandfather as well as the rest of his siblings are all gone now; yet, we still meet in the same place at the same time. Next week we will make our annual pilgrimage for our family’s 60th reunion.
Work is Worthy
My grandfather was a hard worker. I always admired him for that. It amazed me that he was able to become the president of a corporation even though he didn’t have a high school diploma. That is a testament to hard work and perseverance.
Generosity is Golden
My grandfather was one of the most generous people I knew. He was very generous with his family and with his church but also with others. For years, he and my grandmother gave every graduating senior at our church a Bible. He was known to take entire Sunday School classes out to dinner. I remember him buying shoes and toys in bulk for children. He taught me to tithe my income to the Lord; to give back a portion of what God so richly blessed me with. He passed this trait onto my mom, who is also a very generous person. I hope that I will continue that legacy.
Humility is Honorable
My grandfather was humble. He didn’t think more highly of himself than others. He used to visit grocery stores on Saturday, his day off. My grandmother and I often went with him. It was not unusual for him to pick up trash on the way into the store or bring shopping carts in. As the president of the company, he could have told the manager to send some baggers out to do the job, but he did it himself. No big deal.
People are Priority
My grandfather had a way of making you feel valued. His love for family was steadfast. But, it went beyond that. He had an uncanny memory. On those same grocery store visits I mentioned before — he would speak to everyone, baggers, cashiers, stockmen as well as managers and he knew most of them by name.
Generally speaking, our parents probably have the most influence in our lives, in who we become as adults. A grandparent can reinforce and enhance that influence. If I am blessed to have grandchildren one day, I hope I can be as influential in their lives as my grandfather was in mine.
Happy Birthday Granddaddy! I Love You! Kim Kim