Have you ever wondered how the examples set by others play a role in our lives? In other words, what kind of role models did you have in your life?
After my wife and I divorced, I married a woman that had 4 kids – and already had a couple of grandkids. As these step-grandkids get older, I have to think about 2 role models – my step-grandmother and my step-great grandfather.
After my grandmother died (sometime around 1969 or 1970 I dont remember the exact date), my grandfather met a wonderful lady that took my mom and my uncles as her own. I was only about 3 years old when my grandfather met my new grandmother. But I have memories my picking strawberries with my grandparents when I was only about 5 years old. They had about 9 acres of land where they had small gardens, and plenty of room to run and play.
My grandmother never forgot my birthday, she would always send a card and $10. But for the life of me, I can not remember her birthday, and that makes me sad. She did so much for me, and I never re-paid her for that kindness.
If there was one example my grandmother set for me, it was how you treat your step kids and your step-grandchildren. There is something she told me years ago that rings in my ears – “There is no such thing as step”. When you enter into a relationship, you have to accept the other family as your own.
My great-grandfather (really my step-great grandfather) taught me how to build a fire and cook bacon, and he took me out checking his trot lines on the Neches river.
My great-grandfather and my great-grandmother lived a very simple life. When the retired, they bought a bought a small camp house on the Neches river between Kirbyville and Jasper, Texas. Their house might have been closer to Spurger then Kirbyville. My great-grandfather had a small aluminum boat he would use to get up and down the river. The trot lines he set kept my great-grandparents with a steady supply of catfish. I remember riding in the little aluminum boat to go check the trot lines – he made me wear a life jacket of course.
So when my little grand kids are making a mess and really getting on my nerves, I remind myself of the kindness that my step-grandmother and my step-great grandfather showed me. I’am pretty sure I was not the best kid in the world. In fact, I was probably just as bad as the rest of them.
This is not just about how we treat we treat our kids and our step-kids, this is also about how we treat people in our everyday lives. Treat the people in your everyday life with kindness and love. If you are going to sew something for people to remember years later, do you want them to remember the good, or the bad? When you die, do you want people to miss you, or be glad that your gone? I can think of examples of both.