As mentioned in the previous post, I learned a lot from what my great-grandparents did right during World War II. I also learned a lot from the mistakes (as I see them) that they made.
#1: Don’t wait to be generous.
When I was younger I knew my great-grandparents to be generous people. They demanded respect and proper etiquette, but without them I’d have an overbite you wouldn’t believe, wouldn’t have been able to go on any field trips in the sixth grade, and wouldn’t have a brass change sorter in my bedroom that I still cherish.
However, in the years before I came into the picture, my great-grandparents were not known for their generosity, in fact, quite the opposite; I don’t know if they ever stopped rationing in some respects. And while they could occasionally be generous, it was not a habit. (FYI: They could be very generous with each other and, while not without problems, had a long-lasting marriage, another great lesson.)
#2: Know the people who are taking care of you.
I always had to laugh when watching “Gilmore Girls” with the new housekeeper every other week. That was my great-grandma. You have to know the people who are taking care of you, either in your home or your business, and treat them the same way you want to be treated, if you want the same results you would procure.
#3: Innovation can never cease.
After many years of working with plastics, a very large company asked my great-grandfather if he wanted to become a primary distributor. He said, “I make lamps! What would I do with that?” He even had trusted employees willing to take on the work of this distributorship, but grandpa was a combination of content with who he was, and uncomfortable to take on anything else. If he had made a change he wouldn’t have been stuck watching a dying industry in his later years, totally void of the innovation and creativity that brought him joy earlier.
I’ve learned so many lessons from the people who have come before me, and am appreciative for the sacrifices they made, the successes and the failures. If anyone from my family is reading this, I am sure that the different years each person spent with my great-grandparents would alter the perspective in which this is all viewed, but I hope I was fair, kind, and respectful in my recollection.