Sunday, 12 February 2017

Lessons My Grandson Taught Me; Part 2

"Elephants and
grandchildren
never forget."
~Andy Rooney

My grandson is now into his second week of life on this rock we call Earth. The cuddles I got yesterday were sweeter than candy and melted this old man’s sometimes cold and hard heart. There really are no words to properly describe that awesome experience of having that little man laying against my chest as he slept. Sure, like everyone else, we had kids before we had grandkids, and they cuddled too. But for some reason that I haven’t figured out yet, it’s different with a grandchild.

I also learned this week that some things simply are more important than others. I guess I always knew that, but it took the birth of a grandson to remind me of it. In my office, just to the top left of my computer monitor, is posted an 8 ½ x 11 picture of my new favourite little man. As the stresses of this week mounted, and sometimes unbearably so, I found myself repeatedly looking at that picture, and don’t ask me how, but every time I did, I almost instantly began to calm down and breathe semi-normally once again.

Sure, work is important, and barring a winning lottery ticket, it will always be there. But a lesson I was reminded of this week is that family is, and must always be, more important than the job. A former priest and friend of mine once told me that he prioritizes everything in his life into five categories, and he adheres to it almost religiously (I know, it sounds almost ironic that a former priest would do something “religiously,” doesn’t it? -LOL). If I remember correctly, he said his list was something like this: (1) Faith in God, (2) His wife, (3) His children/grandchildren, (4) His personal physical and mental health, (5) His career or job. I remember wondering if his employer knew that he put his job in last place in terms of priority. It seems to me that employers usually expect a higher priority for themselves from their employees, despite their “Work/Life Balance” jargon. Hmm.

The more I think about it, the more I agree with that priority list. It’s interesting that it took my young grandson to remind me that many of life’s stressors are perhaps our own fault, and in many ways, they come about because we have a screwed up priority list. Sort out that task list of life back into proper priorities, pick up a sleeping grandson and hold him close, and feel the tension and stress slowly ebb away. There’s something quite therapeutic about cuddling a baby grandson that can be learnt no other way than by hands-on experience. That’s a powerful lesson!

So as I sit here on the eve of yet another workweek, knowing full-well that there is a mountain of paperwork on my desk, and that Monday also commences my 24/7 on-call rotation, which in and of itself can be stressful, I will also remember what my grandson taught me: Properly prioritize everything, and don’t allow anyone or anything to make you so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life. And if he could already talk, I imagine him also saying, “Opa, come back soon for some more cuddles.

Yes, the lesson my grandson taught me is that work will always be there, but if I prioritize it in the wrong category, I just may miss seeing him grow up, and that would be terribly unfortunate for both of us.

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