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Grandma’s Lectures

by Linda Wasilkoff

Grandma was only 17 when she married my grandfather who was 31. That formed the background for many lectures to her oldest granddaughter – me! Those lectures taught me that though their marriage worked, it was not without hardships in the beginning. She would stress the need to be more mature before marrying! It was a lesson I am glad I listened to.

Some of my fondest memories are the times I was able to spend a week with my grandparents. I helped them on their farm, but we also had fun. Playing games, especially cards and Chinese checkers, was fun. But, unlike some grandparents, mine played to win. On the rare occasion that I won a game, I knew it was because of the skills they taught me. Of course, there were many more times that I became disappointed and upset because I didn’t win – especially when we were playing “Old Maid.”

That would be the cause of another lecture from Grandma! She let me know, in no uncertain terms, that while it is important to try to do your best in any game, it is just as important to be a gracious loser. She would not accept anything else. Once again, this was a lasting important life lesson for me.

Some of her lectures were less verbal. She set an example of how to approach a problem. Our family was relatively large. That meant that whenever we had company, there would be a mound of dishes to wash after the meal! Frequently when Grandma was there, I would be sitting at the table dreading the task of clean-up. Grandma would jump up and encourage all of us girls to do the same. She would start cleaning the table and running the water for the dishes. All the while, she would explain how much easier it is if you just start something you dread and make it fun.

She would begin to sing, talk and joke as we cleaned off the table and washed those dishes. Time would fly, and soon the task I had dreaded didn’t seem so bad anymore. That lesson has been very important throughout my life. Whenever there is a task that seems overwhelming, I think of Grandma and then just get started on it.

As I prepare myself for Passover, I recall and review many of Grandma’s lectures. They have formed a good foundation to build upon. Now there are times when I wish she was still around to give me more lectures – I would appreciate them more as an adult than I did as a child. But, since she is no longer with us, I find that I give myself some of the same types of “lectures” she used to give.

Examining myself each year is a little like losing in a game of cards. There is some disappointment that I didn’t always win all my spiritual battles. Each year, it seems there is more that needs to be overcome. A fundamental lesson Grandma taught comes back: you must always play to win, but be a gracious loser and don’t give up. Put into a spiritual light, I translate that to: it is important to strive to become perfect, but not become depressed when one is not able to do so right away.

You see, Grandma could at times seem somewhat harsh in her lectures. And, yes, there were times when I probably rolled my eyes. However, Grandma was also equally good at giving praise and encouragement. We knew that she taught and lectured us because she loved us and wanted to see us grow, mature and succeed. Our Heavenly Father does the same, only more so, as aptly explained in Hebrews 12:7-11.

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