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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What (grand)ma said

Do you also often feel you keep remembering what your parents or grandparents told you, when you were little?

I certainly do. The older I get, the more wisdom I seem to have gathered from what my elders told me. In my case, what I remember now comes mainly from my grandmother. She was a strong and independent woman, having survived two world wars and being alone without her husband for nearly four years.

A saying of hers I'll always take to heart is this: "Will you jump into the river because the other ones do?"

I was supposed to answer 'No' - and act accordingly. From childhood, I kept to my own course and never allowed others to steer me into trouble.

What I also remember her saying is: "There are bad people around. Be aware of them." She told my sister and I about predators and paedophiles and did not think we were too young to learn about them. We were told we should not go near a car, when a friendly man asked for directions, and when we felt someone came too close, we should run away as hard as we could.

Another word of wisdom was: "Never be afraid - and if you are, then don't show it."

I supposed it was a lesson learned by repeated visits of the German Gestapo, after my grandfather escaped from the prison camp and after a detour in France arrived home where he hid in the cellar of our neighbor. The Germans suspected he was around, but never got an admission from my grandmother, even after threatening her and my mother.

My sister and I grew up without fear and I think this is a major plus in this world. We dare to go out, not afraid of being mugged (they should try, they would certainly feel pain afterwards), not afraid to speak our mind even when everyone disagrees, ... We are quite satisfied with our lives and live accordingly to what we want.

Giving your children such a childhood is a great gift, far better than money. When I look around now, I see so many children who don't know what being happy is, who don't have parents who care for them and given them a real childhood.

What is your take on this?

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