You hear about grandmothers all the time because they are awesome, but grandfathers are just as significant in a child’s life. Boys need their fathers and grandfathers, but girls need healthy opposite sex relationships, too. These relationships are essential to a girl’s emotional growth and often determine how they (females) relate to men as adults.
I feel connected to both my grandfathers even though they passed away years ago. Frank Dugan, my maternal grandfather, passed away when I was around six months old. We lived with my grandparents the first few months of my life. (You can see their home in my sidebar.) I’ve always felt a connection to my Grandpa Frank, but that will be a story for another time.
Today, I write about my other grandfather Hurschel Powell who holds a very special place in my heart. He was a farmer. He was in the military. But, most importantly to me, he was an excellent grandfather.
When I was 3 or 4 years old (I think) my grandfather needed to go to town 20 miles away. And he took me with him. I remember feeling happy that I got to go with him. I remember a couple of things about that day:
· I rode in the middle of the front seat switching from standing in the seat to kneeling. I could see better that way. No seatbelts in the car then. Car seat? What was that?
· I liked walking hand in hand with him, but my favorite part was when he lifted me in his arms and carried me. I could be right next to his heart and pleasant face.
· He let me pick out a toy. I chose a tiny glass doll.
Other memories of my grandpa:
· He took my brother and me for rides on his tractor.
· He was never cross with me. When my grandmother would scold me or tell me I couldn’t do something, he would explain why it needed to be that way.
· He was very handsome.
· He was tall.
· He took me fishing in a creek on the farm.
· He knew who I was as a child and let me be me.
I knew my grandfather loved me. His hugs said it. His attention to me said he cared. In the last months of his life when he was bedridden from Parkinson’s disease and I sat by his bed painting my fingernails, he couldn’t talk easily but the twinkle in his expressive eyes told me how much he loved me. I was 12 years old and was still a fan of his.
I've seen in my dad these past years reflections of my grandfather. That's a good thing.
SIGNIFICANCE OF FAMILY
The influence of family is significant to a child. We know that healthy family connections contribute to a child’s well being. Children learn some of their identity from their parents and extended family members as well. Healthy family relationships teaches a child useful strategies for living life.
Whether you're a parent, aunt or uncle, a grandparent or whatever your role is to a child, do it well.