The 5 Greatest Lessons That Life Has Taught Me:
Lesson 1: Never compare yourself to others. It is easy sometimes to think that we are not as good as someone else or that we can’t measure up. And we waste a lot of time trying to be something that we are not. Here is the secret…your Heavenly Father does not compare you to anyone else. He created you unique with unique talents and unique challenges. He does not care where you are on the ladder leading back to him, He only cares that you are climbing.
Lesson 2: Pray often and pray with purpose. There is no greater evidence of our value to God than the gift of prayer. How marvelous to know that we can approach the Majesty of heaven and He will hear us. The most spiritual experiences of my life have come as I have knealt before God in humble prayer.
Lesson 3: Be very slow in your judgment of others for we have not the vision to see into their heart. We have no way of knowing what they have experienced in life, the hurts, the discouragements, or the circumstances.
Lesson 4: Honesty truly is and always will be the best policy. Being honest with yourself can open your eyes to the changes that need to be made in your life and helps you to be humble. Pretending to be something that you are not or believing that you have to live up to the expectations of others is the cruelest form of dishonesty. Such thoughts imprison you. Being completely honest is the greatest form of freedom.
Lesson 5: Learn as much as you can by study and experience. I learned this lesson much too late in my life. There is nothing more valuable than knowledge from whatever source it is derived.
I am secure enough in my manhood to admit that Little House on the Prairie was one of my favorite shows on television. I even have my DVR set to record each episode as they are aired as reruns. The last time I checked I was up to 65 recorded episodes. And for those of you who may be questioning my masculinity I want to say, for the record, that I also record MMA fights and football games. But the appeal of Little House to me is that Charles Ingalls is a man’s man. He possesses a strong work ethic. He is devoted to his family. He cares about the welfare of his neighbor and, even though he is gentle and kind, he never backs down from a fight if he is defending the weak or his own values. He is the kind of guy that would be loathsome to our modern day liberal media. By todays standards Charles Ingalls would be labeled an extreme right wing homophobe, a religious zealot who thrives on hate.
In the close knit community of Walnut Grove neighbors help each other and families attend church together. Industry and thrift are encouraged. They do not need Obamacare since the country doctor works for sacks of potatoes or bartered goods and services. They are tolerant of strangers and welcome all newcomers who are willing to roll up their sleeves and go to work. We need a lot more Charles Ingalls’ in the world and communities like Walnut Grove. But, alas, Little House on the Prairie is only a television show. But it reflects so many of my own ideals and values that I am drawn to it. For even though Little House is only a television show, fictional in its content, its messages are inspiring to me. And Charles Ingalls…he is the kind of man that I want to be. Everything I need to know to be happy in life I learned from Little House on the Prairie.
Raising a grandchild brings a unique set of challenges. Since Gabby became a permanent member of our household I have been trying to find balance in the dual roles of grandpa and parent. I especially have a hard time with discipline. A grandpa shouldn’t have to worry about discipline; that is a parents job. And yet I know that if she is to grow up to be a responsible adult it is up to me to meet out appropriate discipline whenever the need arises. That is so hard for me when all I really want to do is snatch her up in my arms and hug her. I can’t stand to see her cry, yet often I am the cause of her tears when I have to punish her. As grandpa I want to spoil her but as her parent I have to teach her that we can not always have the things we want in life even when my heart wants to give them to her. I want to play with her and do all the things that she wants to do but as a grandpa I find that I sometimes just don’t have the energy. I have to make sure that her teeth are brushed and that her homework is done. When she is sick I sit up with her at night and hold a cool washcloth to her head. I chase the monsters out of her closet so that she is not afraid to sleep in her own bed at night and sometimes I lie on the floor beside her until she drifts off into peaceful slumber. And all the time I am thinking that her mom and dad should be doing these things. And as hard as I try I get the feeling that I can never really replace her dad in her little heart.
Each night as we kneel in prayer her voice reaches heaven as she prays for her mommy and daddy. She knows them and loves them as only a child could. No matter how many times they break her heart she is ready to forgive them and love them. I guess that’s how it should be but I can’t help feeling a little sad at times because I love this little girl so much but can not fill the void that she feels for the want of loving parents. But I keep trying . And I do the best I can to make her feel loved and special. She is my granddaughter but I could not love her anymore if she really was mine.
Parenting a grandchild is different. The emotions are different. The attachment is different. I have my own prayers the God will make me equal to the challenge. Sometimes I feel like I am failing miserably. Gabby likes to talk and she can ramble on about things that are important to a little girl but I do not always have the will to listen. So I have to pretend to listen. I have to give her my undivided attention even though I may not feel like it. She has so many stories to tell and I am the only one that she can tell them to.
Gabby and I have a ritual that we do once a week. We like to go on our “discovery walks”. These are short hikes that we take where we try to discover knew things. Sometimes we look for specific things like leaves of different shapes or insects. Once we set out to identify the various sounds we hear on our walks through the woods. It really doesn’t matter what we are looking for or where we are hiking Gabby and I are making special memories as we walk and talk and laugh together. These are the special grandpa/granddaughter times when we bond.
Raising a grandchild is like starting a second family. Just as my kids left home to make lives of their own I thought it would be the time that my sweet wife and I could finally do all the things we talked about doing when we were raising our family. Now we find ourselves tied down again with a child. If we want to go out to a movie we have to find a babysitter. sometimes our plans get cancelled altogether because Gabby is sick. So we have put all our plans on hold again so that we can devote our time to giving Gabby a happy life. Is it worth it? You bet it is!
As I wade into the waters of blogging I hope I don’ get eaten by sharks. I am not real tech savvy so this is a learning process for me. As this page develops I hope that people will enjoy at least some of the things I write about and maybe even find a small nugget of strength or encouragement or something to think about . Some of the things I will be writing about will be controversial and I always welcome opposing views because it gives me the chance to see things from different perspectives. I will always try to be respectful of all points of view and ask the same of my readers. Sometimes I will use blogging as way to get things off my chest. This page will also be a way for me to express my faith which is the reason that I feel so strongly about issues such as same sex marriage and abortion. But these are topics for another time. For now I simply want to say welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read this and hope you will come back many more times in the future. Now to see if I have done this correctly. Hopefully, it will be simple to find this page.