Lessons from Grandma – Growing and Giving

on November 22, 2011

Grandma GivingWith the week of Thanksgiving in the United States upon us, I was giving some thought to what I was thankful for, and of course my family was right at the top of the list.  That made me think about both the family that I still have around me today and those who are no longer with us.  My grandmother is someone I still miss today.  She left many fond memories and a lot of lessons that she taught me while I was growing up.  I still apply many of them today in my personal and work life.

Just like St. Francis of Assisi, Grandma had the ability to weave magic with her plants, flowers, and birds in her backyard.  She was to me, St. Francis of Sandralee (the street she lived on).

I’m convinced that she could grow vegetables in the desert, flowers in the dark, and get birds to sign on for life at her feeders.  She had the touch.  But, it wasn’t really a green thumb; it was a huge heart.  She cared!  But more important, I think she really understood what it took for something to grow, whether that was a plant or person.  She had a PhD in nurturing, protecting, pruning, weeding, feeding, watering, and waiting.

Her greatest lesson to me related to her roses.  They were the pride of her yard.  She would tend to them like children and show them off like a new car.  Her prized possessions grew in every color of the rainbow.  Yet, despite all the joy her roses brought her, she would snip them in an instant to bring joy to someone else.  Her clippers were always close at hand.  And her warehouse supply of take-home vases was inexhaustible.

I learned that the essence of her golden touch was that she figured out long ago that giving and growing were inseparable. You couldn’t have one without the other.  It seemed to be a lesson that she intuitively knew extended beyond her backyard. And it’s one that I’ve been trying to apply in my own life with my own family and with everyone I encounter in my daily business interactions.

What lessons have you learned about growing and giving that have stayed with you?

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