Recently, I was listening to Clifton Truman Daniel talk about his grandfather, President Harry S. Truman. He spun one charming tale after another of how his grandfather taught him lessons about humility, courage and education.
Perhaps my favorite was when he told how he didn’t even know of his grandfather’s past life until his 1st grade teacher asked:
“Didn’t your grandfather used to be President of the United States?”
To which he responded, “I don’t think so, but I’ll ask my Mom.”
Later that day, his mom indeed confirmed the fact.
No doubt, through his many achievements, President Truman impacted the lives of millions around the world. But Harry Truman didn’t need to be President to help shape his grandson or, for that matter, any of the thousands of others with whom he directly came into contact.
It is a reminder that we don’t have to change the world on the grandest of stages to still change the world for the people closest to us.
In the lyrics from the title song to the movie Fame, Irene Cara sang, “Fame, I want to live forever, people remember my name.”
Yet what does it say that the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t even know the names of their own great grandparents? Either they aren’t giving us enough of the right things to remember them by, or for some reason we’ve stopped valuing the stories about where we came from enough to pass them down from one generation to the next.
What are the stories people will remember and pass on about you? Will it be about the titles you’ve held or the way you impacted their life?
And if you’re not passing stories on about those who came before you — should you expect others to do the same for you?
Help one of your grandparents or great grandparents live forever today. Tell their story to someone.