If you were lucky enough to have known your grandparents or great grandparents you are truly blessed. If you spent time with them I'll bet they taught you what it takes to be a better than average kind of person. Why? They had a lot of good common sense because they wouldn't have been alive to meet you if they hadn't had that singular important characteristic. Most of them grew up in challenging times. They worked hard and concentrated on their families, homes and the communities they lived in.
By comparison to today's standards, they probably appear to be pretty simple people but they had their priorities straight...or most of them did. They likely wouldn't have been able to name all the countries on the planet but they knew the names of all their grandkids and great grands. I doubt they knew calculus but they wanted their kids and grandkids to know those things. That wasn't always possible for them because as kids often went to work for their parents, pitching in like any other worker needed to harvest crops, log timber or raise livestock. That tradition has almost faded from existence now.
I can only speak to my own experience and I know there are lots of other family ways out there. I know there were wealthy families whose children were sent to private schools and on to universities. I know there were children who often did not know who their grandparents were and spent their lives without a family history. Someone's grandparents lived in prison and some were killed in wars fighting for this country. Some were alcoholics or drug addicts. Some left family behind and went looking for a new life.
The luck of the draw decided who our families were and most of us did pretty well, or we made peace with our upbringing and moved on to be better. I often wonder what our grandparents would think of this world. I think it would scare them in the same ways it often scares us.
Then I think back to the days when we had air raid drills at school as we expected Russia to attack any minute. My grandparents rented a house in Philomath years later that still had a bomb shelter in the back yard. It was a fascination to all of us and made a dandy conversation starter. We have forgotten things like the Vietnam War which we watched on television every day. I'm not sure how my grandparents got through that but they did. Their children served in WWII. They'd had enough war. I'm still not sure how we got through it because Vietnam belonged to our generation. We fought that war. It was us. We are the ones who loved it or hated it. Not much has changed. It is sad that some of our children and grandchildren are still fighting wars. I think our grandparents would not understand that.
I think our grandparents would be baffled by technology and find most of it unnecessary. The exceptions would be all the music available and the ease of hearing it and of course, all those basketball and baseball games on TV. I think they would hate the waste in our daily lives. They would not understand donating perfectly good items and replacing them with new ones. They loved plastic because it was new and exciting back then but I doubt they'd love what it's done to the planet.
On the subject of the planet, I know they were awed by a man walking on the moon but I often wonder what they would think of a space station where people live. I think they'd understand global warming because their world was much less populated than the one we live in. I think they would be just as reluctant to use medical care as they were when they were alive. The older I get, the more I understand this one.
I think my grandparents would be amazed by the size and diversity of the family they created. I also think they would be tickled at how old their children are. OK... and the grandchildren. Dagnabbit! As the elder grandchild I can attest to the fact that we are getting old. As the parent of their eldest great grandchild, I can say that those guys are getting old too. I think all of our grandparents would celebrate each new generation.
I think our grandparents would want a kinder, gentler world. I think our world would make them sad and confused. For this reason, I am thankful they aren't here now but I hope my great granddaughter will live in a better world. Why? I still have the unending optimism which was the gift my grandparents and great grandparents gave me. Merry Christmas, my friends.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.