15 Life Lectures From Grandpa

15 Life Lectures From Grandpa

My grandfather was born one year and one week after Oreo cookies came into existence, and he lived to celebrate 100 years March 13, 2013, meeting his only great granddaughter, my daughter Meredith Violet, and holding his youngest of four grandchildren, my son Russell Rain. Though he lived in Florida during much of the time I was growing up in New Jersey, he visited about once every year or two. My family drove to Florida to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary around 1995 or 1996. I learned most of what would be considered life lectures not from his words but from my Grandpa’s actions.

Life Lectures From Grandpa: show don’t tell

Of the times I talked with my grandfather, I remember more about how he showed me to live than what he said. “Children should be seen and not heard” was a popular phrase for his generation, but he showed us more by listening to us.

1. Eat well

I remember laughing when my grandfather picked flowers and assorted berries from the yard of our suburban New Jersey home in the early ’90s, if not the late ’80s. He put the plant life in a bowl after washing it. I believe we ate violets, but his action inspired me to look to nature for sustainability.


    Ellen Eldridge, age 5 or 6, with her brother and grandfather. Grandmother is at the door, checking on supplies for the lemonade


    2. Be entrepreneurial

    Grandpa encouraged my brother and me to start a lemonade stand as kids. Though the business is a cliche like tea parties and playing princess, I don’t think either of us kids would have thought to start our own business without someone’s lead. We likely sold little, but the actions that day spoke louder than words and I’ve gone on to start more business ideas including a fanzine in high school.

    3. Keep exercising

    My grandfather still mowed his own lawn at age 90 with a push mower. Not the electrical kind either. When visiting him and my grandmother, we grandchildren felt amazed that they not only got into the swimming pool still but also my grandfather dove in from the diving board. Staying active kept my grandparents healthy.

    4. Value your roots and family history

    Grandfather and my father, who was the eldest child of four, took an interest in tracing the family’s lineage and building charts of our ancestors. Valuing your family means taking care of them while they’re young as much as it means never forgetting the ones who’ve come before you.

    5. Do what you say you will do

    The value of following through came by way of life lectures from Grandpa in that he always did what he said he would do. From making salad to waking up early and making the bed, he did what he said he would do.

    6. Earn your way in life

    As much as my brother, sister, cousins and I loved getting coveted quarters from Grandpa, he insisted we earn them by pulling weeds or studying to make good grades. The life lectures from Grandpa of earning money were continued by my father, who insisted we complete chores for an allowance.


    7. Save money

    Even more important though perhaps a lost lesson, saving money was a life lesson Grandpa and my father tried to instill from a young age. The importance of making conscious purchases and not frivolously wasting money dawned on me toward the end of my twenties rather than at the beginning, but Grandpa tried.

    8. Honor your country

    Many of the people my age and younger have grandparents and parents who served in the military. My Grandpa gave me a large seashell that I believe he told me came from the beach at Normandy. He never spoke much about war, but knowing he served proudly in the Navy encouraged me to later join the Army Reserves.

    9. Treat other people as you would have them treat you

    My Grandfather first taught me the Golden Rule. This was one life lecture he never had to show me. I took his word for it that the kind thing to do is treat people the way you want to be treated.

    10. Don’t stay in a job you don’t like

    My grandpa never ran from responsibility, but he made sure to encourage my father and his other children to follow their hearts. My father became a mechanical engineer. I know as much as I knew to follow through with the lemonade stand idea that doing what you like is the key to never feeling like you’re working.

    11. Always be honest

    By never lying to me or anyone else I’m aware of, my husband’s father, who is now 78, taught my husband to never lie. The strength of doing what you say inspires integrity.


    12. Don’t judge people based on age

    Not my grandfather, but a nontraditional student over the age of 70 taught me not to judge others based on their age. Universities and colleges allow people over a certain age (62 in Georgia, where I am enrolled) to attend tuition free. The man who has showed up and worked twice as hard as traditional students proved one of life’s most important lessons is to educate yourself.




      13. Family first

      I interviewed briefly a woman who had just turned 100. She reminded me of my grandfather, as he had just died a few months before his 101 birthday. I asked the woman what her favorite memories were and she just said family meant everything to her. It made me happy to know I decided to travel more than four hours with a screaming 3-month-old son and moody 2-year-old daughter so they could meet their great grandfather on his 100th birthday.


      14. Plan but don’t spend all your time planning

      One of my Grandpa’s and now one of my favorite quotes is “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

      Planning and making strategic choices are crucial to learning from mistakes, but with great risk comes great reward. Live a little and enjoy spontaneity when possible and appropriate.

      15. Rely on no one but yourself and love everyone

      My Grandfather taught me and everyone in our family by example. He stayed active and supported my Grandmother until she passed away around age 92. After she was gone, my Grandpa remained in his own home until the end of his life, at age 100. While he had a caretaker who came to the house, my Grandpa took care of himself until the very last few years. I know he accepted a ride to the store once a week to buy food, and he cooked for himself well into his nineties. His self-reliance kept him independent, but he remained loving and welcoming to everyone who came to visit. I believe the love and family surrounding him at his 100th birthday gave him the satisfaction and courage to move into the next lesson, the afterlife.

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      Last Updated on August 20, 2018

      60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

      60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

      Sometimes it’s easier to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. It’s important to take time out and remember all of the things to be thankful for that many of us take for granted.

        Here you’ll find 60 very solid things to be thankful for in your everyday life. These are great reminders for you to treasure everything you have.

        1. Good Health

        Even if you’re health isn’t great, it could be worse and you likely still have some working parts to be thankful for.

        2. Money in the Bank

        Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth.

        3. Good Friends

        Often, it’s the quality of friendships, not the quantity.

        4. Freedom of Religion

        Being able to worship whomever and however you want is something many people don’t ever experience.

        5. Your Parents

        Even if they’re dysfunctional, they gave you life.

        6. Weekends

        There’s something magical about weekends.

        7.Having a Partner

        Being in a romantic relationship can teach you so much about the world and yourself.

        8. Pets

        Pets offer one of the best examples of unconditional love.

        9. Learning from Mistakes

        If we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.

        10. Opportunity to Get an Education

        The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have.


        11. Having a Home

        Whether you live in an apartment, a mansion, or a tent, having a place to call home is something to be thankful for.

        12. An Ability to Read

        If you’re reading this right now, you have a lot to be thankful for.

        13. Breathing Fresh Air

        Being able to step outside to breathe in fresh air is a good reminder how many little things we should be thankful for.

        14. A Bed to Sleep

        A bed is one of those things that’s easy to take for granted, until you don’t have one.

        15. Laughter

        Without laughter, the world would be a sad place.

        16. Safety and Security

        Being able to wake up without immense fear frees us up to really live life.

        17. Cars

        Without cars, it would take a lot longer to get our activities done.

        18. Sunshine

        The sun’s warmth can brighten any day.

        19. Time

        Although we often don’t think there’s enough of it, time is something we shouldn’t take for granted.

        20. Clean Water

        Many people on earth lack access to clean water.

        21. Cell Phones

        Cell phones make talking to loved ones easy.

        22. Love

        The world sure would be a different place if we lacked the ability to love.

        23. Books

        Books provide an opportunity to enter another world all from the comfort of your own home.


        24. Kindness of Strangers

        Never take the kindness of a stranger for granted.

        25. Campfires

        The simplicity of a campfire creates lifelong memories.

        26. Pain

        Without pain, it would be difficulty to appreciate life’s joys.

        27. Art

        The world would be less beautiful if art didn’t exist.

        28. Holidays

        Any reason to celebrate is something we should be thankful for.

        29. Freedom of Speech

        Being able to express your thoughts and feelings freely should never be taken for granted.

        30. Rainbows

        The beauty of a rainbow is unmatched.

        31. Tears

        Sometimes when there are no words to say, tears express how we feel for us.

        32. Waking up Today

        Simply waking up today means you have things to be thankful for.

        33. Indoor Plumbing

        Indoor plumbing not only provides convenience, it spares us from disease.

        34. Wisdom that Comes with Age

        Thankfully, we grow smarter over time.

        35. Mountains

        Mountains provide us with beauty and recreation.

        36. Eyesight

        Being able to see allows us to view the world’s beauty.


        37. Grocery Stores

        Grocery stores mean we don’t have to spend all of our time getting our own food.

        38. Sunsets

        Sunsets are a reminder that we should enjoy the simple things in life.

        39. Entertainment

        Entertainment gives us a way to relax and enjoy life.

        40. Your Mind

        Being able to think, remember, and solve problems sure makes life easier.

        41. Employment

        Even if you don’t like your job, being employed means someone thought you were special enough to hire.

        42. Diversity

        The world would be a boring place without diversity.

        43. Moon and Stars

        The moon and stars encourage us to dream.

        44. Electricity

        Electricity makes most of our chores efficient.

        45. Air Conditioning

        Staying cool on a hot day is something people wouldn’t have dreamed about in past centuries.

        46. Hearing

        Being able to hear your loved one’s voice is something that not everyone gets to do.

        47. Children

        Watching children laugh, grow, and dream can keep things in perspective.

        48. Ability to Learn

        The ability to learn new things means we have endless potential.

        49. People Willing to Teach

        Whether it’s your grandmother teaching you to knit or your plumber showing you how to prevent future problems, be grateful that others are willing to use their time and talents to teach you something new.


        50. Oceans

        The sea creatures in the ocean almost seem too mystical to be real.

        51. Modern Medicine

        Without advances in modern medicine, many of us wouldn’t be alive.

        52. Music

        Music brings out new emotions.

        53. Entrepreneurs

        Some of life’s best inventions resulted from an entrepreneur who was willing to take a risk.

        54. Warm Clothing

        On a cold day, there’s nothing more important than warm clothing.

        55. Freedom to Vote

        Being able to have a say in the laws should never be taken for granted.

        56. An Internet Connection

        It’s hard to believe how easy it is to take the internet for granted, seeing how none of us had just a couple of decades ago.

        57. Challenges

        Without challenges in life, we wouldn’t be the people we are now.

        58. Hiking Trails

        Hiking trails give us the chance to enjoy mother’s nature beauty.

        59. Vaccines

        Many of us wouldn’t be alive without today’s vaccinations.

        60. Armed Forces

        Our lives would likely be very different if we didn’t have protection from the armed forces.

        Realizing all the things you should be thankful for is the first step, practicing gratitude is what you should start doing:

        6 Ways To Implement More Gratitude In Your Life

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via

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