Wisdom From Grandma

Two weeks ago, we became Grandparents! How lucky we are to witness the cycle of birth. 

I only got to know one of my Grandparents, My Grandma Laura Coats. I was very fond of her. 

Grandma was born in 1899. She lived the first half of her life on a small farm without indoor plumbing or electricity. Water came from a spring. Heat was provided by a wood-burning stove. Food was either grown or raised. After Grandpa’s untimely death in 1955, she moved to a little concrete block house in town where she lived alone until age 94.  

Grandma didn’t attend school past the 8th grade, yet she was very wise and taught me many things. 

Here are some examples:

1. One’s Life Speaks Louder Than Words 

Grandma had firm personal values and deep faith in God. But, she rarely spoke of religion or politics, nor did she impose her beliefs on others. She preferred to set an example by the life she lived.

 2. Be Kind, Show Interest In Others

When visiting Grandma, she always gave me a big hug saying, “I am so glad to see you!” It was clear she was. Grandma was very kind. She loved animals and always set food out for neighborhood cats that might be hungry. 

3. Place Little Value On Material Possessions 

Grandma had no interest in material possessions. She wasn’t the least bit self-conscious about threadbare rugs, worn-out furniture, and out of date fashions. When we came to visit, the kids slept on the floor. No one seemed to mind. Grandma rarely bought new things. Her house was a snapshot in time; everything was found exactly as it was on the previous visit. 

4. Conduct Yourself In A Manner That Demonstrates Pride

Grandma conducted her affairs with pride and expected the same from others. One day, she saw me walking down the street with my head and shoulders drooping. She called me over and gave me a stern lecture, saying she expected me to stand up straight with my chest out and head held high. That was fifty years ago. I remember it like yesterday. 

5. Be Positive 

Grandma never complained about anything. When misfortune struck, she maintained a cheerful, positive outlook. One of her favorite sayings was, “Always be thankful for what you have. Things are never so bad that they couldn’t be worse!”

6. Keep Busy 

Grandma refused to “let the sun catch her in bed.” At age 85, she mowed her own lawn. Much of her time was spent making quilts. I suspect she made over 100 in her lifetime, giving most of them to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 

After Grandma died, a note was found in her bible, it read:

I had a wonderful husband,

three wonderful kids,

nine wonderful grandchildren,

many great-grandchildren,

and the good Lord was with me the whole way.

What more could one ask for?

Demographers would’ve classified Grandma as “rural, economically disadvantaged.” Grandma would’ve laughed. 

I don’t have any idea what my Great Great Grand Mothers were like. Now our Granddaughter may one day know something of hers.  

7 Replies to “Wisdom From Grandma”

  1. Now I know where you got your strength and determination !!!
    And maybe just a touch of your “stubbornness” !!
    I was lucky enough to learn a few of those great lessons from my grandparents as well— Swedish immigrants who were hay farmers in Dassel, MN.
    Now– Joan and I are trying to hand some of them down two more layers—to our two wonderful children and six even more wonderful grandchildren. And at age 74 as we look around the World, I am sad to say they are going to need all the help they can get….but that is the same thing my grandparents said about the World they were handing off to us !!

    After all is said and done— Humanity does have so much basic goodness and love….and hope !!


    1. I worry our generation (me) aren’t up to the task. I am so thankful to my ancestors. While i may not share their political or religious views they taught me so much, maybe that’s a lesson to carry forward.


  2. Such a great idea to have your impressions of Grandma down. I do remember Grandma coming over to me when I was washing the kitchen floor for Mom. I was doing the fast check it off the list type job. She casually mentioned that it was hard for Mom to get on the floor so take time to get in the corners and clean good for her and it would be so helpful. Just the way she said it made it an important job and a lifelong lesson.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: