Continued from Part 1, W.W.B.D. (What Would Grandpa Bud Do)
Lesson 7: Sometimes when you do acts of kindness for others, you’re helping them more than you might ever realize, if you happen to realize on some level it’s helping them in a small way, you might be surprised to know just how much.
“Any act of kindness, no matter how small, is never wasted.”
I was always thankful for the sessions, and always looked up to him then, like everyone else in the family, but sometimes you don’t realize just how fortunate you were to have people like that in your life until after they’re gone. Or maybe you did appreciate it, and truly value it at the time, but don’t realize the degree of magnitude of how lucky you were.
Lesson 8: Be thankful for the people in your life, you never know how much you’ll miss them until they’re gone.
“Praising what’s lost makes the remembrance dear.”
Great quote, but also; we don’t have to wait until they’re gone to give the praise.
Another thing about Grandpa Bud was that our dog Morgan used to get more excited
about seeing Grandpa Bud than just about anyone. Sure he would always arrive with a small plastic bag in his pocket of fresh dog treats from the bulk bin at the grocer, but he would only give him a one or two a day at separate times, and during his visits, Morgan was always by his side.
Lesson 9: Treat animals with kindness, and occasionally give them healthy treats, but don’t overdue it, and instead show your canine and human companionship through outdoor activity inclusion, and other priceless acts; not by just giving them material goods or through food pacification.
“I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog or cat are not better for it.”
Just about every day in the summer, Grandpa Bud used to pull up a lawn chair in the driveway, and for an hour or so, sometimes longer, just watch the farmers field across the street, and always sitting right next to him loyally, was Morgan, both of them observing nature quietly. I often remember the dog looking up peacefully at him from his spot on the ground, seeming to be think, “this guy’s pretty cool.” Looking back, it must have been some form of meditation, because he always looked so at peace when he did that.
I was usually running around the neighborhood or the yard occupied with something, while him and Morgan were doing that act of meditation, but one day I decided to pull up a chair to see what it was all about. I took a cue from the both of them, and the three of us sat there in mostly silence for a little while, before he started telling me stories that made me feel like I had only been privy to-as he wasn’t one to ever talk about himself.
The story I remember most was how when he was a young teenager and biking down a steep hill with his brother Cal when the brakes on Cal’s bike went out, or he got his pant leg stuck in them, I can’t remember the exact detail, but he was careening downhill towards a busy intersection uncontrollably, so Bud raced down the hill and waved the cars to a stop, potentially preventing a tragedy.
Lesson 10: Inspire others through stories of self sacrifice, both your own and of others, and make them feel a part of it as you do so, even if they might not appear to fit in.
“Discipline and unconditional support is earned by understanding and trust and inclusion. Not by isolation, not by nasty tricks.”
I had a dream of Grandpa Bud a few years ago, at a time when I had felt accomplished in work for the first time in my life, (as a personal trainer,) if not financially, at least spiritually and socially by the success my clients were achieving, and also for myself by conquering my social anxiety to a small degree, as the anxiety aspect always kept me away from being a personal trainer, and I also had realized my other big dream of a paid writing gig, writing creative blogs for Anytime Fitness/Anytime Health.
In the dream I was in a restaurant and Grandpa Bud was sitting across from me, wearing his familiar blue Chicago Cubs hat (whenever our grandparents visited from Chicago they would always take us out to a nice restaurant, usually Red Lobster-which was our favorite choice) so the dream restaurant locale made sense. In the dream he didn’t say anything, he just had the familiar light in his eye, and approving grin.
Lesson 11: Make the people you look up to proud, even if they’re no longer around. The best way to honor them is not only to live by their lessons, but by sharing their strength by passing on what they’ve taught you by example.
“Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true.”
-Sarah Ban Breathnach
Not everyone in any extended family always gets along, or see eye to eye, and being a part of a big extended family that’s even more of a challenge. With three siblings on my Dad’s side, and seven siblings on my Mom’s side of the family; each with multiple children on her side, the family get togethers always drew a large gathering with many people from many backgrounds, which Bud often attended.
When the families would get together for the holidays, everyone always gets along, barring a political discussion, but even without that, every family has favorites and/or certain people we gravitate towards more so than others.
Everyone from all sides of the family absolutely loved Grandpa Bud, and gravitated towards him for the trademark handshake. It was hard not too as he was an incredibly strong presence, and never looked down upon anyone, or had any negativity or judgemental assumptions about people, which most everyone is guilty of, at least to a small degree.
Lesson 12: Just like in life, (like at family gatherings,) it’s easy to surround yourself with only the people that agree with you and share your own (often myopic) viewpoint of the world, but putting on blinders like that is the surest way to stay buried into your self created pigeon hole. We may convince ourselves it’s well intentioned, and that our piousness is all knowing, but it’s disingenuous, not to mention nasty and presumptious, and by doing that we’re hurting ourself more than anyone else, not to mention limiting mental and perspective expansion, in the process missing a potential opportunity to dispell a preconceived notion, potentially adding a positive, while possibly discarding a negative.
“You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions.”
“Begin challenging you assumptions. Your assumptions are the windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while or the light won’t come in.”
On a final note, I don’t mean to sound pious going over this list like I follow these lessons on a daily basis. In fact, I’m often guilty of not doing few of them with regularity, but with consistent practice and good aim, improvement will come.
P.S. Thanks to TMH Word Inventions for the suggestion of making this a two part blog, (as it was way too long winded for a single post!)