Ripple effect

One of the questions I regularly ask the Grilled Grandmas is "What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren?". I'm continually impressed by their thoughtful answers because in considering that question myself, I find it difficult to narrow it down, to sum up in a few words what I want the sons and daughters of my daughters to have and to do and to be.

I want to pass along to my grandchildren so many things, some that I have, some that I don't, some that I wish I had mastered.

I want to pass along the traits of faithfulness and thankfulness. I want them to know they’re loved and worthy and important. I want them to have memories of incredible moments and the motivation to create more. I want to pass along a love for themselves as well as a love for others, regardless of how alike or different others may be. I want to pass along the desire — and the ability — to make the most of the gifts they have been given.

I want to pass along to my grandchildren all that and more. Ultimately, though, what I most want to pass along to my grandchildren is life and all the beauty and blessings and potential wrapped up in that. I want them — my extended family — to be and to continue to be. To continue the family line, the family tree. I cringe at the idea that everything Jim and I put into the family we’ve created could have ended with our most immediate progeny. No, I want our family tree to have strong roots and abundant shoots going forward, and for those roots and shoots to make a difference in the world.

I want the lives of my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren and so on to matter and make a difference in the world, partially to better themselves, to better the world around them. But in all honesty — and in all selfish realization — I also want those things partially so my life will have mattered, to know that I made a difference.

I have no illusions that I’ve shaken the world up in any way. I do believe, though, that through my children and their children and their children, my jiggles and jerks from beginning to end have had and will continue to have a ripple effect. My words, my actions, my love have touched my children, who then have gone out into the world and touched others with their words, actions, love. Then the ripples continue as those touched in turn touch others, matter to others, make a difference to others. My ripples grow larger, wider, eternal. That won’t happen if the family doesn’t continue, if life is not passed down, again and again and again.

Yes, I want to pass along love, independence, fortitude, passion, compassion, sympathy, empathy and more. Those are the things of life, of living. For better or for worse, those are intertwined with pain, heartache, fear, longing, loss — life’s unsavory bits that make what's on the other side of the coin all the more sweet and appreciated and worth every utterance of gratitude and thanks.

So, regardless of reason, justification, or explanation, when I truly consider what I want to pass along to my grandchildren, the bottom line is this: I most want to pass down to them life and the gumption to make their fair share of ripples — possibly even a big splash now and then, too — with that life.

Photo: stock.xchng/biewoef

Today's question:

Whose ripples from the past continue to impact your present?