This week I got news that my grandfather had passed away. It was not unexpected since he was in his early eighties, but death always has a way of helping the survivors remember life’s gift. My grandfather lived a long and prosperous life and passed his lessons down to me and the rest of the family. Today I want to share three of those lessons that stand out most.
1. Small Steps Accomplish Big Goals
Growing up, my grandpa always used to tell my brother and I, “I’ve got a little job for you.” But it was never a little job. Instead there were always monster sized projects. They were overwhelming. During two days one summer, we had to move nearly 10 truckloads of pine needles to the dump. That was a huge undertaking for a 6 and 10-year-old.
No matter how big the project, grandpa always broke it down into small manageable steps. He’d tell us start small and just get moving. We would resist and then barely put in effort. But that little bit of effort, over a period of time turned into huge progress. Somehow grandpa always knew that seeing progress would make us work harder.
2. It’s Okay to Have Money
Grandpa was one of the most frugal men I’ve ever met. He’d use coupons better than all these extreme coupon sites you see online today. He knew how to spot a deal and negotiate to get the outcome he wanted.
All that said, he managed his finances well so he could afford the lifestyle he wanted to provide for his family. He was able to travel freely and see his grand kids who were spread all over America. He was able to go golfing and enjoy time with friends. He was able to financially provide for himself and my grandmother when he was no longer physically able.
Grandpa recognized four facts about money. Money is not evil. It is only a tool. Tools only work when you do. Using tools requires planning and responsibility. And for my grandfather, one of the responsibilities of having money was being generous and giving.
3. You Need God: See Him by Serving Others
Grandpa was a retired Air Force Chaplain and Pastor. He had dedicated his life to serving God and serving others. In his service to others, he always put God first. He always told me, “Put your trust in something bigger than yourself.”
Much like the “little jobs” that were so big they seemed impossible, grandpa reminded me that I was just one small part of God’s big plan. He taught me the importance of loving God through loving and serving others.
Reverend, Colonel, Grandfather.
Carl Reiter, 1932-2016, May your memory be eternal.