I was a sponge and didn’t even realize it. When we are young, we don’t often recognize the lessons we are learning from those around us. As I look at some of the things that are a staple in my life, I credit them to the example my grandfather set for me.

Although the lessons were many, there are three things that stand out as lessons I carried forward.

Have a Plan

As children, my grandfather would take me and my brother on trips. Together we discovered the Space Museum in Washington D.C.; visited cousins in Nashville; and explored the beaches of Sanibel Island, Florida, and more.

I have very happy memories of the trips and the adventures we took. What I didn’t recognize at the time, but do now as an adult was the planning he put into each and every trip.

In the front seat sat the TripTik, a planned out driving itinerary that the local American Automobile Association (AAA) had put together. I remember turning each page of the TripTik, looking at the maps and our highlighted route. Often there would be a note of a place of interest to stop. Here in my hand was our trip plotted out.

The planning didn’t stop there. Snacks and drinks were packed as well. Specifically I remember the tiny little juice cans (juice boxes didn’t exist back then) that were common on these trips.

I am sure there was a lot more planning in place, such as the hotels, research on restaurants and locations to visit. The plans never seemed rigid, my grandfather was always ready to make a surprise stop, but the plan provided a path to follow.

As I grew older and began organizing trips for myself and my friends, I became the planner. Destinations, hotels, restaurants and activities were researched, and options laid out. It was always an adventure before the real adventure to lay out the ideas of what could be.

For this I thank my grandfather for demonstrating having a plan, but remaining flexible.

Make People Smile

I believe one of my grandfather’s greatest purposes in life was to make people laugh. He would talk to everyone, and quite easily seemed to have them laughing.

I remember him being silly in the swimming pool, as he would pretend to be a whale spraying water. He would swim after me and my brother, with us shrieking and laughing the day away.

From my grandfather I learned to be silly and have fun, while spreading it to others.

Be a Storyteller

My grandfather was an amazing storyteller. He would weave wonderful tales and he loved to write. I remember his electric typewriter and the boxes filled with his manuscripts, his dream to be published. Unfortunately that dream didn’t come true, and although his submissions to publishers were rejected, he never gave up. He loved to paint a story and he kept at it.

As a child I would write stories, but I rarely shared them. I have come a long way in sharing my stories, my memories and my ideas through my writing, for both myself and for others.

I attribute my love of storytelling to my grandfather.

The lessons that craft our lives are often absorbed by what others do around us, not necessarily what we are taught in classrooms. I am grateful to my grandfather for teaching me so many important lessons by setting a great example.

I would love to hear about a lesson you learned from someone in your life. Leave me a comment and let me know how someone impacted you and how it shows up in your life.