My grandparents, Jane and Harold Lynch, were simple people who spent the majority of their lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My grandfather was a butcher. My grandmother was the quintessential homemaker, raising four children. They were the epitome of good people.
Harold and Jane were always smiling, always singing. They loved their family with a fierce devotion and included nearly everyone they met as a long-lost family member. My grandmother would often introduce herself by saying, "Just call me Grandma."
I grew up only miles from them for all of my youth and they brightened my life with warmth and love and kindness. Though they have both passed on, the life lessons I learned from them will always remain.
5 Life Lessons I Learned From My Grandparents
1) Be kind.
My grandparents treated everyone with kindness. Everyone. Even people who didn't look like them. Even people who didn't follow their same religion. Even people who spoke different languages, ate different foods, and held different beliefs.
They always welcomed people of different races into their home, even in the turbulent 60s. They taught me to treat everyone the same, no matter what.
2) Be you.
As a brown-skinned girl in a non-brown family, I often felt like I didn't fit in. Then add in the fact that I was 5'11" in a family where the women struggle to get to 5 feet tall, and I was definitely unique in my family.
But my grandparents never let me feel that being adopted and being different was bad. They always admonished me to stand up straight and be proud of who and what I am.
3) Be funny.
The sound that that was most often heard in my grandparents home was laughter. They loved to tell jokes and poke fun at themselves and at life in general. They were able to find the bright side of anything and encouraged me to live life with a smile.
4) Be honest.
My grandparents believed in working hard even when no one was watching, even when it wasn't expected, even when others weren't giving it their all. They never tried to be like anyone else.