The Meaning of Family

I leave tomorrow for a weekend with my 94-year-old grandfather. It’s important to me to spend as much time as I can with him. My grandfather is the last remaining direct relative I have from the greatest generation. The picture here is of him at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. My mom and I took him to D.C. each of the last two years to let him sightsee a bit and visit his 96-year-old half-brother who lives in Bethesda, Maryland. As a side: longevity in my family is common. My great-grandmother lived to be 101-years-old and died in her sleep. That’s they way I hope God allows me to go.

While spending time with my elderly grandfather can be challenging, I realize as I get older that the time I have with him is extremely important. I need to allow my family history to remain strong. And the only way I can do so is by spending time with grandpa, learning about his life and the experiences he has had over the years. I remember a time in high school when my AP History teacher asked us to interview a family member about a time during history that they lived. I chose to interview my grandad and great-grandmother about their experiences during the Depression. Listening to their stories made that time period come to life for me. I realized that it was more than stories written in a history book. It’s my job to keep those stories alive and pass on to future generations.

When I was in high school, I also remember feeling irritation toward my parents for what I considered interference in my life. Now I realize that it’s extremely important for parents to be involved in their kids’ lives. Too many parents that I see choose not to pay attention. Tonight I heard of a teen suicide that I believe could have been avoided if the parents had paid attention. I think it’s important for me to publicly thank my parents for their love and concern as I grew up. They have set a fantastic example for me in marriage and parenthood. I hope I can live up to their standards.

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