What do you think of when you think of grandparents?
I’ve spoken to many people over the last couple of months who view grandparents as an inconvenience or a nuisance.
Having been fortunate enough to have known three of my four grandparents well, I have to say how privileged I feel to have been able to get to know them. They’ve taught me lots about the world and about myself. Most importantly though, I’ve learnt not to assume anything about anyone.
Up until I was in my late teens I didn’t really appreciate that my grandparents were not always grandparents and that they too had a life many years before I was born. For example, they had successful careers and celebrated multiple achievements throughout their lives. As a result they all have boundless useful advice and knowledge to offer, even if we think ‘here we go again, this story for the millionth time’, or ‘what can they possibly know about life?’ They have a different perspective on life to their children and grandchildren, something we can definitely learn from.
I’ll never forget when I asked my grandfather (who thank G-d is still alive) what the biggest change is that he has seen in his lifetime, bearing in mind he was born in 1924. I expected him to tell me that he was amazed that man could go to the moon or that you can hold the answer to any question in the palm of your hand. His answer thoroughly shocked me. For him, the biggest change he has seen in the past 91 years is the fact that people no longer respect each other. In his opinion man’s accomplishments are impressive but ultimately meaningless if we lose the essence that makes us human.
This is only one of countless times when I’ve been floored by insights of my grandparents. I enjoy every second that I spend or have spent with my grandparents and am sure that I don’t do it enough. But I urge everyone who still has the opportunity to grab every second that they can with their grandparents because as it is with everything, you won’t realise what you have until they are gone.