My “Meme” (grandmother) passed away on Saturday and over the last couple of days our family has been together. During that time there were not too many sad moments other than the visitation and the actual funeral. Instead, much of the time was spent by everyone sharing stories about Meme. My cousin told a story about me and meme; When I was about 4 years old, we were all at the beach, and back then our entire family (13 people) would stay at our family beach house on St. George Island, FL just about every weekend. One day I brought a toy dump truck into the house, which was of course full of sand. My grandmother was always very strict about taking your shoes off and not brining any sand in with you. I forgot on this day. She got on to me pretty good and I put my head down, walked out, and did not drop one grit of sand while removing the dump truck from the house. An hour later she asked my brother and cousins where I was. They said, “Meme, Donny is still under the house crying because you yelled at him”. Evidently that broke her heart and she thought of me as the “sensitive one” from then on. She also treated me differently after that event, and it was a special bond between us – just as she had unique connections with the other grandchildren.
No one is perfect, and the majority of people pick out the imperfections in others first and use them as pivotal points to feel better about themselves, rather than focusing on the great things that can boost others’ self-confidence, motivate them, and make them an even better person. Leaders choose to do the latter.
Because of how my grandmother cared for me, and how she treated me differently, I was surely impacted in a positive way. Had she not been compassionate, chances are that I would not understand the need to be so myself. In many ways, grandmothers and grandfathers are natural leaders in that they focus on making their grandchildren better. My meme succeeded and she will be missed greatly.