Every person I know considers at least one of their grandparents their hero. I am no exception. I did not grow up near my grandparents (or any of my extended family for that matter) and so while I was always fond of my grandparents and loved being around them, hero status for my grandfather did not occur until I was an adult with teenage children.
My father is the oldest of seven boys and my mom is the oldest of five girls and one boy. Both grew up just North of Salt Lake City. I have a lot of Aunts and Uncles, and even more cousins. When I was in the second grade, my father took a job in Orange County, CA. We never moved back, not until I was 35 years old.
Not growing up around extended family limits you in many ways. We don’t always relate to our parents or siblings. We are different than them in just as many ways as we are similar. When I moved back to Utah and began developing relationships with my cousins, aunts and uncles, I also began to see parts of me, in them. The differences I had with my parents and siblings, were the the things I had in common with my extended family.
It’s interesting how we learn a lot about ourselves when learn about our relatives. Something I have learned from being around my grandfather and a few of my moms siblings is that I am capable of accomplishing the near impossible.
Many years ago my grandfather owned his own contracting business. His entire career was spent in the construction industry. At one point, he made a decision to take on a partner. For reasons I am not aware of, the business under this new partnership that were quite aggressive and put the company into millions of dollars worth of debt. My grandfathers partner wanted out and left. My grandfather now had a decision. Stick to it and be personally liable for the entire debt himself, or take the same route as his partner. The latter would require filing bankruptcy and leaving many subcontractors and other builders without the money they were rightfully owed.
Without hesitation, he chose to stay with the business and pay off the debt. This proved to be a very difficult task. It required my aunts and uncles pulling together, working together, scraping, pinching pennies, and sacrificing together. Eventually, after a long time, they were able to pay off there entire debt. To this day, even though my grandpa is retired, his business continues on and still bears his name.
My grandpa is my hero. He cared more about integrity, honor, responsibility, hard work than he did about the prospect at failing. He would rather do something hard than walk away. What is great about this, is sometimes I feel like I face the impossible, and I remember that my Grandpa did too. I am like him. I can do hard things too. I can also defeat the impossible.