My grandson is leaving for school today. Just two hours down the road, he will be on his own for the first time. Eighteen! Hard to believe that little bundle I was first introduced to so long ago is the same tall young man that drove by himself from Tennessee all the way to my house. Much taller than me, he is still my sweet grandson and now traveling his own grown up path.
The couple in the photo started out their lives together even younger–they ran away at 17 to get married. They both went to small schools, his with five rooms and one teacher, and her school was heated with a coal stove much like the one they are standing by.
I’m sure their parents were very concerned; they would have known the challenges these young people would face in life, and how little they both knew at the age of seventeen. But 53 years later they are still together, and from my conversation with them, very, very happy and in love. This was their anniversary and they had chosen War Eagle Mill to celebrate.
The older I get the more I say things to indicate that life was so different in my youth than the young kids of today are experiencing. No doubt that is true, and this couple’s parents no doubt thought the same thing. Each generation has a different world to experience. And each young person will no doubt think of how different their life was than the children they have and watch head out on their own.
So as my grandson heads out on this new adventure, I gave him a few (well more than a few!) words of “sage” advise:
Mom isn’t going to be there to wake you up for school. Respect the property of your hosts. Don’t be afraid to fail; life is full of successes and failures and even the failures pay off somewhere down the road. Don’t let fear of failure keep you from plunging into the adventure ahead of you. Take life one day at a time and don’t worry about tomorrow. Pray; the Lord’s Prayer covers everything. Follow your heart; if this isn’t what you want, don’t be afraid to try something else. Just make sure you give it a chance. You are doing this for a reason, and the reason may be totally different than what you thought you were to do. And finally, the most important, to be honest with yourself and others.
I wish someone had told me these things when I started off. Maybe they did and I was too sure I knew the right way for me to listen. My life has been filled with many exciting wonderful adventures, others rather dull but fulfilling, and of course, some that broke my heart. My heart mended, the adventures I experienced led me to where I am now, and the skills and knowledge I gained is what I need for today.
So I hope my grandson takes my words to heart, and even though he will no doubt experience a lot of the same kinds of bumps and thrills I did, remember that life is to be lived, not enslaved by what the world at large thinks he has to have to be successful.