MARCH 2020 - TOUCHSTONE


I watched a young woman on TV as she spoke of her grandfather. She was reminiscing about the good things he accomplished during his life. Now that he was gone, several years before she was born, she remembered him. She remembered his life and she expressed how what he did, fighting adversity as a young emigrant from Italy, coming to America, poor, but with a will and a persistence to work for a better life, rose until he owned a great business and spent his life helping others less fortunate.

What impressed me was the effect her Grandfather’s character had on her life. He left her a grand legacy. That legacy had a profound effect upon the young woman. So powerful was her memory of him, he gave that young woman a Touch Stone, a Guide, and a powerful Impetus for her own life that helped her do great and good things for others.

I was part of a meeting last week. The Director of the Upper Lake Senior Services Center, invited a guest to speak of ways older folks might mentor and read stories to the children in the Upper Lake Kindergarten and early Elementary grades. Mentoring the youngsters is of the greatest importance because, while they are still children, their young lives are most easily molded and formed to become whatever they will become as adults.

I taught those same grades, as a School Teacher in Michigan when I was young. I know, first-hand, how much these small people want to know more about the world around them. When I told them stories, or, answered their questions, it was plain to anyone who might have been there, as it was for me, I had a part in changing their lives.

Young people want to know what you and I passed through when we were young. Although we all learn from our mistakes, we also learn from the people around us, who have already had those same mistakes in their lives.

I believe, and I’ve often written in my newspaper articles, and said to my children and others, when we have finished our labors, and we leave this small blue world spinning in space, all for which we will be remembered is what we have done for others. Lest anyone think for a minute this is too pale, or Pollyannaish a Philosophy, I must add that such a way of living our lives is good sense.

You and I are living this wonderful life for one reason only. To do whatever we can to help the human race become better. You and I must, first, love ourselves. How else can we love others? We must love and stand with our families, and those that are closest to us, because they are a part of what you are. And we must care about and help others, when we can. Unless we do, how else can the human species survive?

The habit and practice of our Native American Elders is a good example of what I write. Their Elders teach their children and give them a legacy, which has helped the Tribe continue as a people for all the many centuries they have existed. Such instruction, by the older folks to our children, strengthens the connection between the young and the old in ways nothing else can. Such mentoring and instruction help cement the necessary bond between the generations and strengthens the race. It builds and holds firm the family unit as no other way can accomplish.

You and I, as we grow older, whatever we accomplish, how we live our lives, are examples for some child. We are a Signpost and a Touchstone for that young person, which will help him, or her, through the vagaries of life. Not only will you help that child be a better adult, they, in their turn, will work to carry on what you have begun. When we do these things for our children, we help make our future all it should be.

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