Granny wisdom for our grads…

By Beth Boswell Jacks

HED: Granny wisdom for our grads…

Another spring is about to pass and still I’ve had no invitations for graduation speaking gigs. Do these people who plan graduation ceremonies think I have nothing wise to say? If so, they’re wrong – remember, I’m a grandmother.
Dr. C. W. Shedd, author and psychologist, says, “Some of the world’s best educators are grandparents.” As the grandmother of seven, I quite agree; however, lately I’ve found being a grandparent is as challenging as juggling greased watermelons. It’s tough to be cool and “in control” when technology is changing every other week, making communication between seniors and younguns harder and harder.
Nevermind. Cell phones, I-phones, E-mail and text messaging will never take the place of good heart-to-heart conversations with Grandma – no electronic device can compare with her “delivery.”
A recent trip to south Mississippi to see grandkids made me think about “grandmother conversations” and how much truth we grandparents have to share with the little ones. Seriously, if you’ve never uttered the following words, you are not a true Southerner. The words are:
“My Granny always used to say . . .”
I keep a list of favorite expressions – words of wisdom stated in good, old-fashioned style – and if I were ever asked to share what I’ve learned in my six decades of happy living to graduates, here are some of the “Granny Quotes” I’d be tempted to use.
To make it through life, a sense of humor is a must. A friend told me that when making phone calls to friends or relatives, her light-hearted Arkansas grandmother often began the conversation with, amp”Yessum, I’m feeling as frisky as a flea on a flat dog.”
A little spice always brightens a dull day. Many a grandmother has wiped her hands on her apron and admonished the horde of dirty cousins, appearing in her kitchen for a jelly jar of cold water: “You kids look like the rear end o’ bad luck! Go wash.”
An appreciation of good times and good food is an excellent way to keep your cup half full. I was fortunate to have grandmothers who always had time to visit with their grands and would greet us with hugs and warm words – “C’mon in here and sit a spell. I got apple pie in the oven!”
Never underestimate the importance of compassion. I can imagine my thoroughly Southern grandmothers saying something like this: “That woman makes me so mad I could spit 10 feet, but then I just remember she’s got that burden of a nose, bless her heart.” Ahh, “bless her heart” covers every insult and offers a little prayer of compassion . . . at the same time.
And then there’s that important, absolutely necessary-for-success trait – a good attitude. Grannies of yesterday were fond of saying, “Nobody wants to be around her ’cause she just piles on the agony.”
I love these comments and the clever, colorful ways grandparents once counseled their grandchildren. Maybe some still do – I hope so! Here are a few favorites that our new grads would be smart to heed:
~~ Don’t pay mean folks any mind; it’s only the best fruit the birds pick at.
~~ Every day’s a good day – some are just better than others.
~~ Remember, there are two sides to every pancake.
~~ The only doors closed to you are those you close yourself.
~~ Get up and go. Only lazy people get bored.
~~ Honey, you can’t win if you don’t enter.
~~ Never mud wrestle with a pig; you both get nasty, and the pig likes it.
Well, the list is much longer but my space is not. I’ll leave you with my 92-year-old mama’s favorite parting expression. Listen up, graduates. She always used to tell me:
“Remember whose daughter you are.”
That, my friends, is great advice from the wisest of the wise – a grandmother, of course!

Beth Jacks is a columnist from Cleveland, MS. Her light look at life could qualify her as Mississippi’s answer to Erma Bombeck. Write:

Chris Wilson

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