“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor,comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.” -Rudolph Giuliani
Being a grandparent is a special privilege and responsibility. While children will learn many lessons from their parents, grandparents have the wisdom that comes with years of life experience that they get to share with a child on their knee.
Although women today have more rights than they once did, and we are blessed to live in a society in which women have value, the dark statistics still show a shocking amount of abuse and mistreatment of women still happens in our country. Grandparents have the unique opportunity to teach their grandsons to be different- to teach them to treat the women in their lives with respect, value, and care. And that’s exactly what this grandfather did.
In a heartfelt letter to his soon-to-be-born grandson, TomVander Well reflects on his experience observing the baby shower, making light of being the only male in attendance among twenty or more women.
Then he gratefully realized that he wasn’t the only male in the room because, “There you were comfortably nestled inside your mother’s womb. Nevertheless, you were very much present. You were the very reason for the celebration. You and me with all the ladies. I smiled to myself at the very thought of it.”
As he warmly recognized the fact that his grandson was so close, he decided to advise the little one on how he should treat the women in the room, and all other women that he meets in his lifetime.
Vander Well writes,
“Listen to grandpa. Hear me. Honor these women and all they represent. As a male you will find that much about females will seem mysterious to the point of frustration. There will be moments you’ll be tempted to be dismissive, patronizing, and demeaning. Along your life journey you will be tempted to place women into two separate buckets in your mind: women to love and honor and women to diminish and objectify. You can’t have it both ways. When you embrace the latter you negate the former. I pray you will have the wisdom to resist these temptations. Someday, I’ve got a few things to share with you about the tragic foolishness of not doing so.
Respect women, all women, in the fullness of their being: body, mind and spirit. Respect the girls you grow up with, the woman you meet in a bar, the woman you work with, the woman you date, and the woman who is a stranger. Respect them just as you respect the women in these photos. Respect women for all the ways they are different from us guys. Respect their strength. Respect their knowledge. Respect their spirit, ability, courage, and their passion. Learn their stories. Embrace their wisdom. Love them well.”
What a wonderful message to pass on to the young men in your life. I can only hope for more grandfathers and fathers who hold their sons and grandsons to the same standard that this man does.
To read the rest of Vander Well’s open letter to his grandson, you can head over to his blog.