The idea for the title of this is not entirely my own but all the thoughts most definitely are.
I became a grandfather at the ripe old age of 59 when Mia was born. It happened between two very traumatic events in my life. The death of both my parents.
My father passed away in August 2009 and my mum left us in January 2010. God spared my mum just long enough for one cuddle of Mia, my eldest granddaughter, for that I am so grateful. Her passing came just a day or two after Mum and Mia met each other. My sadness is that neither my dad or mum ever got to know my beautiful grandchildren – oh how they would have loved them all!
An added sadness is that they will never learn the important lessons of life directly from them. They had so much wisdom to offer; instead I will do my best to share with my precious grandchildren some of the lessons of life that my parents passed on to me, others I have learnt for myself, some have been passed on to me by friends and loved ones.
My wife, children and grandchildren are the greatest gift God will ever give to me, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in my hands. What I want to do is take time be with them, teach them to aim high, to have faith in God and also be someone in whom others can trust.
I don’t intend leaving just yet and trust God will spare me long enough to see these little ones grow into adults and maybe have families and kids of their own.
My dear Mia, Alfie, Millie, Lois, Eli, Max and Elsie
This is me when I was a boy. My mum knitted my jumper. It was dark green. I think the buttons look like eyes.
I am very proud to be able to call you my grandchildren. Each time one of you joined our family you came with great excitement. Always be assured you are loved! When you were born I was already ‘getting on a bit’. I hope to watch you grow up into fine adults with families of your own and as you make this journey, I just wanted to help you along the way. I hope as you read what follows with interest, knowing that what I have learnt about life will help you all become better people and that I can help make your journey through this life just a little easier. I am guessing only you and your loved ones will know if I helped at all.
Here are some things I really want you to learn, each one is important!
- Make it a priority above all else to find God.
Having a faith and understanding that God loves you unconditionally and without end will bring a meaning to your life and help you make sense of this world in which we live.
- Model your lives on the teachings of Jesus.
You, of course, can read these in your Bibles. Here are some good ones to get you going. Try and find some others for yourselves. The effort you put into looking them up and putting them into action will be worth the effort! Trust me on this one!!
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
- Choose your life partner very carefully.
Your lovely nan, my precious wife, is the most special person in the world to me. I trusted God to bring us together and He chose well. Being with her is just the best thing ever! Over the years we have changed each other for the better – we try to help each other become more kind and loving every day. We don’t always get it right, but we do our best. I’ve got to say your nan is better at it than me. As we are both Christians, we have tried hard to become more like Jesus. We are still a long way off but we try hard every day. We love each other unconditionally, just as Jesus loves us. I once wrote your nan a poem and I called it…’Perfect love knows no because…’ if you think hard about that title you will begin to understand.
Here is a copy of the poem, I wrote it in France a long time ago…
I don’t love you because of your beauty,
Although there is none on earth more fair.
It isn’t because of your love for me,
Wonderful and steadfast though it is,
Discounting all others your love is for me alone.
I don’t love you because of your charm and innocence,
Seeing only the best in people;
A more trusting and lovely soul my path has never crossed.
Neither is it your warm and caring nature,
Which protects, encourages and lifts me
Every moment of this life we share.
I just love you…
Perfect love knows no because.
Always remember marriage is God’s idea, and we need to love each other like he loves us.
Your nan and I never have to earn each other’s love, we just know its always there and it grows every day. We see you, our grandchildren, as special part of the love we have for each other. That’s why you are so special.
- Think of your life as an adventure, because that’s what it is.
If you think of life as an adventure, ordinary days will be special. Try and read some of the adventures I had with you when you were young. (www.rogernewberry.com)
In truth, they were ordinary days, doing ordinary things, but when you are with someone you love, simple things become special things.
- See the bigger picture.
In life you can’t always have what you want whenever you want it. Life is a struggle some times and you may feel overwhelmed by problems and difficulties. Keep strong, thing will always get better. Try and see the bigger picture! Also, you will need to work hard and save hard to get the things you need and want. You may be quite old by the time you can afford some of the things in life you always wanted, but somehow waiting for them makes having them extra special. For many people the early years of marriage and family life can be tough going – setting up a home is not easy, but worth the effort. Always try to see the bigger picture!
- Use time wisely!
You will know I have eight clocks in my study… all different, some quirky, but all remind me of the same thing. Time stops for no one! Once time has gone you can never get it back. Try and use it wisely.
This plaque on my wall says it all. One day I hope one of you will have it on your wall. Look at it and think of me… and make the most of and enjoy every minute of your lives.
- Have fun!
It’s really up to you what you do with your life, but always make sure you have fun. Tell jokes, be a bit silly sometimes… Remember me as a grampy who loved to have fun!! Wear silly glasses if you need them, buy a bugle if you see one for sale… and a megaphone! If you feel like collecting football stickers when you are old… do it!!!
Even in my life time the world has become a much smaller place. When I was growing up and someone went on a plane to a different country, we had a family day out to go and wave them off.
Now we can travel all over the world fairly easily. Travel opens your eyes to the wonders of the world, it helps you learn about yourself and more about other people and how they live.If you are open to it, travel will simply make you a more well-rounded human being. People you meet while on the road usually become some of the most valued ones in your address book, giving you points on the map to visit later on.
These people give you a glimpse outside your hometown circle of friends, forcing you into new and refreshing perspectives on things. Make the most of any opportunity you have to see the world. Newberry Tours will look after you!
- Perpetual sunshine produces a desert!
I came across this quote some years ago on a calendar I used to keep on my desk when I taught in Cogan Primary School. It has stuck in my brain through all that time. It’s an intriguing thought. On the surface I guess it means that if every day has sunshine and no rain, eventually nothing will grow; you need rainy days to go with the sunny days to enable growth to take place.
In a way life is just like that!
If things always go smoothly and we never experience pain or heartache, then our lives become dry and barren. We cannot appreciate the good days in our lives, if we never go through those tough times. While we may hate them as we go through them, but when they are replaced by the happy times in our lives, we are able then to appreciate the good days because of the bad days.
- Enjoy the journey of life… it’s a long one!
So often, uppermost in your minds will be the final destination. That time when you will say I have made it! On a certain day at a certain hour you will pull into the station. There will be bands playing and flags waving. And once you get there you will think so many wonderful dreams will come true. So many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of your lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damming the minutes for loitering, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.
However, sooner or later you will realise there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us.
Psalm 118:24 says…
“This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob you of today.
So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough. And remember its’ always OK to stop and ask for directions, especially well advised on the one journey of life.
- Aim high!
Michelangelo once said ‘The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.’
That to me sounds like good advice. It came to me when I was with Alfie when he was very young, we were in the games hall of our church. Alfie you picked up the basketball, looked up at the net and paused. I know what you were thinking. In your mind you had that ball through the ring.
I want the best for you all. I look at your parents and think about the mistakes Nan and I made as we were raising them, and then realised that when you came along we were … sort of… given another chance. In life, aiming high is so important. I look back and regret the times in my life when I accepted second best or set the bar too low and achieved things without an effort. When I was a teacher, I tried always to give my pupils only the best, they deserved nothing less. I was always inspired by two saying I found on life’s journey.
One was the motto of a school I drove past – ‘Excellence to all and from all’. Great advice on giving and expecting the best.
The other, a motto on the bottom of my desk calendar, – ‘What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.’
I will share with you the words of E. O. Wilson
You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honourably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist!
The world needs all you can give.
- If you tell the truth you will never have to remember what you said!
- Never be afraid to make mistakes. People who never made a mistake never learnt anything. Also, notice the mistakes of others and learn from them too and remember you don’t need to point them out!
- Read the Bible as often as you can. You will be a better person because of it. Reading it every day and put into practice what you read is always the best way! The Bible has something relevant to say on just about everything and you can always trust its counsel.
- Remember it’s always a good idea to say grace and thank God for your food before you eat it. There are many people in the world who would love to have the food you have. Many have nothing! Remember that in your prayers too!
- Respect and trust are not presents that are handed out, they must both be earned. If you lose either one they are very difficult to get back. Very difficult. Love them while you can and always respect them.
- Childish and childlike are two very different things.
Avoid the former and always choose the latter. I worked with children for forty years as a teacher in primary schools. One thing I know is that often, they taught me as much as I taught them! The most important thing I learnt is to look at the world through the eyes of a child, even when you have grown up. I still try hard to do this every day!!
Someone once wrote about this in a blog. Here is a summary of what she wrote and this is exactly what I think….
- Everything is new…
Kids are fascinated by everything because it’s all new to them. Every day is new to them, so everything seems exciting and full of possibilities.
- Everything is a learning experience…
Children are interested in learning as much as they can. How many times have you heard a child ask “why?” over and over and over again? They want to know everything!
- Everyone is a possible friend…
Children are always open to meeting new people. They want to smile and make friends and learn people’s names and what they do and why.
- You can be anything…
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” How many times were you asked this as a kid, and how many different answers did you have each time? Doctor one day, teacher the next, even a bin man, because how cool is it to hang on to the back of a moving truck? We shouldn’t limit ourselves to what seems right or practical, when we can think like a child and do what we really want.
- The world is full of possibilities…
This goes hand in hand with thinking you can be anything when you grow up. The world is full of possibilities and you can get in on any of them. Don’t limit yourself to certain things because of who you think you are, or how you think your job or family define you. If you’ve always wanted to be an artist, take a painting class and give it a try! If you want to write a novel, tackle the first chapter in your free time and find a writing support group. The fact is, the world is full of possibilities for everyone, not just children who haven’t really lived yet.
- You do things “Just Because”…
Too often adults think we always need to be doing something. If we’re not at work, you need to be reading or taking care of the house. If you’re stuck in traffic, why not listen to a podcast or audiobook? It’s great to make good use of your time, but you don’t always have to be doing something. Why not take time out to enjoy the sunshine, the breeze, sitting outside with friends or family? Your jobs will still be there when you’re ready to get to them.
- You don’t care what people think…
Let’s be honest – this is the best part of being a kid, isn’t it? Getting dressed in a polka dot shirt and striped trousers because that’s what you want to wear, and strutting your stuff in public, just proud that you dressed yourself. Imagine how free you’d feel if you didn’t care what people thought about you? Not to the extent you totally let yourself go, or become the office idiot, but just enough so that you do things you want to do without worrying what others will think – because, honestly, you never know what other people are thinking.
Don’t be in a hurry to grow up. Enjoy being child as long as you can. You will grow up soon enough. Your Nan tells me to grow up from time to time, but I don’t think I really want to! Not all the way anyway!!
- Never do the lottery.
You will be wasting your money and be discontent thinking about all the good things you will buy. The Bible says ‘Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ Learn to be content in all things,. There are millions of people all over the world who would love to have what you have. Be happy.
- Be a good listener!
People will appreciate that. When you are taking with somebody, look them in the eye when they speak and do not interrupt. Someone once said you have one mouth and two ears. Remember that!
- Tell people often that you love them!
This is important because there may come a day when you wish you could!
When you are grown up and you hopefully have a home of your own, make sure you let other people stay in it. When we could, your nan and I always let people use our home as their own., We had many young people visit us down through they years. These visitors enriched our life enormously. When we could we made a guest room and people from all over the word stayed in it. We loved having visits! Some were better than others but that is life! Be kind anyway.
I hope you find some of the above things useful. If you did, pass them on to your kids when you have them….
Lots of love
Always remember… you are loved!