Author Alex Hailey (1921-92) once said, “Nobody can do for children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of children.” I witnessed some of that stardust last Friday in Bath on Grandparents Day.
On face value, it would seem pretty simple: Grandparents come for a campus tour, see classes, meet with faculty, enjoy a nice lunch, kiss their grandchildren good-bye and depart. Enter stardust…
This year we created a program brochure containing blurbs written by our students expressing gratitude for the role that their grandparents have played in their lives. Suffice it to say that the anonymous excerpts below from the Hyde-Bath program demonstrate major stardust:
– You are a powerful male figure in my life and have provided me with invaluable advice by sharing your life experiences so I can better live mine. You are a man I aspire to be like and I am so proud to call you my grandfather.
– The way you hold yourself as an individual, and as an independent man, gives me great insight on how I would like to carry myself as an individual. You also make the best soup which has intrigued a culinary interest.
– You helped raise me when I was young and my mom had breast cancer. This means a lot to me. I thank you for all things you have done for me.
– You have also given me a lot of inspiration and taught me many life lessons such as “Friends will come and go but family will always be there.”
– I admire you more than any person I’ve ever met in my life. This is because of your work ethic and ability to make it through adversity.
– You know basically everything about me, and you don’t judge me. You also still have not given up on me through all the miserable times.
– You are one of the strongest people I know, and when you are faced with a challenge you do not give up. I know I can rely on you and that means a lot to me.
– You inspire me with your continuous effort to do the things you love and not be stopped by age.
– You have always been a big part of my life since I was adopted. You’ve been the father figure in my life… You are also my best friend and someone who I can go to for anything, whether it be girl problems or life questions.
– You have been through my side through everything. You have never doubted me, and always believed in me. Thank you for never giving up on me.
– You are persistent. This has been a pain in my neck sometimes. But this pain in my neck always makes me feel better when I realize that I’ve made the right decision. This pain comes from your love and sincerity towards all of your children. I love you!
– I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all that you have done for me. From giving me the opportunity to go to this school and showing me how to follow your dreams, you have truly been an inspiration.
– You have been supportive and wise throughout my life. Even when I was struggling and hurt your feelings, you only wished for the best and inspired me to be better than I was.
– Being around you always makes me feel loved and cared for. I appreciate the way you always listen to me and have something to say. Thanks for making me feel special and I love you.
– You are the strength of the family. You always know how to help me make the right decisions. Discreetly, but you always say just enough to make me think twice.
American humorist Sam Levenson (1911-80) once observed, “The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy.” Don’t know if that’s true, but all kids – and more than a few adults(!) – can use an influence to help them think twice. And grandparents are probably better suited to the role than moms or dads. So, yeah, I think we’ll keep doing this Grandparents Day thing.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld