Every grandparent or teacher knows that one of the most wonderful parts of getting older involves being able to impart the wisdom you have gathered over the years to a loved one. Older people have a wealth of experience and knowledge. It is through intergenerational interaction that younger people become aware of this. Students of the aging process will often be asked to go to retirement homes and speak to residents. We decided to ask our two summer law students to write about what they have learned from their grandparents. The results are certainly newsletter worthy, perhaps this exercise should be integrated in every high school curriculum!
“When I was younger, I remember looking through an old family album, and seeing a picture of a young beautiful and handsome couple, and asking who they were. After finding out that they were my grandparents, I was a bit surprised and began to wonder what their lives had been like in the past. Although it was obvious that there was once a time when they were younger, it was hard to imagine, and was something that had never really crossed my mind. I decided to ask my mother about my grandparents, and found out some things that made me to look at them in a different light.
My grandfather had started off with nothing, except intelligence and inner motivation to succeed. Before the Korean War took place, he had moved to the southern part of Korea, and rebuilt his life with bare hands. He started off by living in an outdoor shelter, and slowly moved his way up, later becoming a well-respected school principal, living a middle-class life.
Although my grandfather did not fight in any wars, both my grandmother and grandfather had to live through two terrible events during their lifetime- Japanese Colonialism and the Korean War. It is hard to imagine how life would have been like back in those days, and is impressive how my grandparents were able to endure and successfully carry on with their lives in such circumstances.
Learning these new things about them helped me reflect back on myself, complaining of too much school work and lack of sleep during exams, while I rested comfortably in my bed, typing away on my laptop. Comparing myself to what my grandparents had to go through to come to where they stand today, I realized how much they were and are still capable of accomplishing. “
“My grandparents live in a different country and therefore my interactions with them have been limited. My father’s parents passed away when I was younger, but my mother’s parents live in India. My grandmother is in her 70s now and my grandfather in his 80s. The last time I saw them was probably around 8 years ago.
My grandmother is a kind person. She speaks a number of languages (I’m not sure how many, maybe around 5 or 6) and is very good at bridge. In fact, when I was younger I would always play on her “team”. By “team” however, I mean that I would just sit in her lap while she beat everyone.