We all have people we look up to for diverse reasons. Some of the reasons we look up to them could be that they have strengths in areas we don’t. Or they’ve achieved in areas we want to achieve in… The reasons are many, perhaps innumerable. And, now and then we contemplate on questions we would ask them on what it takes to get where they are.
We want to know what it is that sets them apart and in some cases what makes them nothing short of demigods in some people’s eyes. When the opportunities to sit at the feet of our heroes we quickly turn them to victims of sort, as we bombard them with one question after another.
Let’s flip the tables for a moment; imagine you are in the hero’s chair and someone asks you, “If you had one thing to say to the world what would it be?” Hold the thought for a moment…
Last week my last surviving grandparent, my grandmother, (mom’s mom) passed away. I spent some time reflecting on what I’ve learnt from her.
As I reflected, I realized I could not recall a time I actually sat with my granny for a lesson. I cannot remember a time I quizzed her about many of ‘life’s issues’. Yet, her signature is undeniably clear on me (and my siblings) through mom.
Growing up, I was often not too pleased with my mom assigning my siblings and I seemingly never-ending chores. Mom always saw and or created something to do around the house or in our garden. She was somehow a workaholic and seemed not to have ‘rest’ or ‘break’ in her vocabulary.
The truth is as we were growing up we also wanted our ‘breaks from chores’ to last the rest of our lives. In retrospect, the work ethic my mother carried, which when we were younger and felt victims of, was actually ‘inherited’ from granny.
In her old age my granny still wanted to work her garden and never could sit still. I now more evenly distribute the ‘blame’ for attempting to instill a work ethic in my siblings and I to include my granny.
This is yet another reminder for us to never underestimate the impact we have on posterity and those close to us. The decisions we make and lives we live daily have direct implications on our children’s children and the children’s children of those we influence now.
There are a few other things I realized in my reflection but want to keep to this example and get back to the question, “If you had one thing to say to the world what would it be?”
I got to see my granny for the last time in December. The thought that it could be the last time I saw her did cross my mind…
The last thing she said to my siblings and I was, “Love one another and never lie”.
From all the life lessons she could share she chose to say these words to us. I think that’s profound.
Allow me… Love one another – This means that granny probably realized that the most significant thing to be pursued and attained in life is not inconsiderate self-gratification. Part of me thinks granny saw where she was in her life as the ‘last stretch’. I think, “Love one another” came out of her time in reflection and allow me to put forward another assumption.
At the end of our lives we are going to measure the worth of our lives based on what we did for others. What we did for others will be of more worth than just personal achievements. I think granny was also saying, “Live for others and not your selfish ambition and desires”.
People who are highly esteemed are those that have been selfless and did something for the enrichment of other people’s lives.
“Never lie”– Granny was reminding us to embrace the value of truth and to not forget the devastating effects of lies. I’m sure granny, in her long life, had seen some devastating effects of lies.
Truth builds up and lies ultimately destroy. Truth is the bedrock of character. Being truthful to ourselves and others will protect us. Truth will build and give you a good reputation that cannot be priced.
Truth is the cornerstone of authentic relationships. Truth will truly set us free; lies will entangle us it often take another lie to cover another. Truth will create enemies and simultaneously give you true friends. My granny was my hero, but an even greater one now as see how she enriched my life both directly and indirectly.
I hope her final words to us also inspire and challenge you to live well.
Who is one of your heroes and what is the one thing you’ve caught from them? If you were in the hero’s seat now, what’s the one thing you’d say?