One of the questions I ask of our LifeStories Alive interviewees is, “Were you particularly close to one of your grandparents?” I know it’s not politically correct to have a “favorite” grandparent, but we naturally are attracted to, and are closer with, one of our grandparents. This special relationship can be life-changing.
I met with an acquaintance today named Dave who loving told me stories about his grandfather (who died about ten years ago). Dave and his grandpa would go out on his ranch near Fredericksburg, TX, just the two of them, and talk for hours on end. He felt that his grandpa was telling him personal stories about his life, including his experiences in World War II, that he had not shared with anyone else. As Dave this afternoon was telling me this, his face lit up with the greatest smile. I could feel the special bond he had with his grandpa.
I have heard of many such relationships with many of the people I talk with. I’ve always wondered, What sets up those special conversations and relationships? I feel one of the reasons is the “safe place” a grandparent feels with that one grandchild. While those people of Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation http://tinyurl.com/llhf7x are typically very humble, their stories will flow like a river when they feel that they are in a safe place to share them. Creating such a safe place is one of the skills I have learned and teach in my work at LifeStories Alive.
So if you had a favorite grandparent, remember them today and honor their memory (or present-day life) by sharing their stories with someone else, or better yet, by recording them for future generations to know. Remember, one day you, too, might be a favorite grandparent for someone special in your life.