This is a love story. It’s about my granddaughter Lauren. She’s a teenager now, but even at only eight years old, she had an innocent clarity about life. Sure she lives in an area of the world where there are a lot more “haves” than “have-nots.” Yes, she has enough food to eat, people who love her, health, and intelligence. On the flip side, she goes to school with children, who in third grade, already have cell phones, use inappropriate language, and can be downright “mean.” She could already be caught up in a “the world revolves around me mentality,” but she’s not. She’s smart and athletic and graceful, but don’t most grandparents say those types of things about their beloved grandchildren? What stands out to me is how I continually see this beautiful spirit. She inspires me.
Lauren shared that sometimes at school, she likes to sit at different lunch tables because “not all the kids have someone to eat with.” She has plenty of friends she could sit with, but she’s aware when someone else might need a friend.
If she doesn’t do something that she’s supposed to, like clean up her room or have her homework finished, she doesn’t lie and doesn’t manipulate it. If she messes up, she owns it and always tells the truth.
We went shopping at Christmas time so that she could get small gifts for Mom, Dad, Pop-Pop, and her little brother Ethan. She recognized that she had a budget but figured out a way to spend a little less on the three older people so that she could get two things for Ethan, “because he’s the youngest.” She knew it would mean a lot for him to have something extra. She understands how to make someone else feel special.
One day my daughter, the grandkids, and I were playing the “what would you be if you could be anything?” game. I answered, “famous author.” Lauren said, “You already ARE a famous author Nana.” I’ve published something, so to her, I’m famous. She lifts up, and honors, the people she loves.
When she noticed kids being mean to other children at school, she talked to the guidance counselor about an anti-bullying campaign and offered to stay in at recess to make posters. She understands that not everyone is nice and that not all situations are rosy, but she believes in the power of change.
Disney’s “Teen Beach Movie” is happy and innocent with a lot of music and dancing. Lauren declared that “this is my favorite movie. It will always be my favorite movie.” Of course, I know that as she grows up there’ll be lots of favorites. What’s cool is that she’s able to definitively claim what she likes.
Chocolate is her favorite food (next would be salad…which is ironic). She doesn’t get it often, but when she does, she savors it and enjoys it. Even though my Mom (her Great-Grandmother, GG) died years ago, Lauren remembers the fun they had every Wednesday when we all had dinner together. Each week she shared a chocolate dessert with her beloved Great Grandmother, and she still laughs about it. She cherishes the sweet parts of life.
She is patient, loving, and kind to her little brother. She listens to him. She helps him with multiplication tables, projects, and games. She’ll sit next to him patiently while he’s reading aloud and whisper the word in his ear when he gets stuck. She is loyal and protective.
At Christmastime, Lauren’s school had an “Operation Santa Claus” drive to give toys to children who wouldn’t have otherwise had any. Lauren and her grandfather went shopping together and bought TWENTY stuffed animals, which she delivered to the guidance counselor. That night when we were talking, she said that while walking back to her classroom alone, she “felt good inside to be able to give something without getting anything back.” She’s a typical little girl who has plenty of possessions, but she appreciates the joy of giving to others.
Of course, I realize that my perspective is influenced by my love for and devotion to this little girl, but I know she has a lot to teach.
1. Inspire someone.
2. Be aware when someone might need a friend.
3. If you “mess up” own it and always tell the truth.
4. Understand how to make someone else feel special.
5. Lift up and honor the people you love.
6. Believe in the power of change.
7. Definitively claim what you like.
8. Cherish the sweet parts of life.
9. Be loyal and protective.
10. Appreciate the joy of giving to others.
How different would your life be if you always told the truth, including what you like and enjoy?
What would you get by giving freely to others or reaching out to someone who needs a friend?
How would it feel to know that you have the power to change what needs changing?
What would it be like to understand, inspire, honor, be loyal to and cherish the people in your life, each day, in your own home?
I think they would be a beautiful start to a Peace Full Home.