Learning from our grandparents

Reflecting on my childhood, I realised that I learnt so much from my grandparents without them having a pre-set curriculum, a lesson plan, test or a report.

Experiencing Grandparent’s Day at Broadacres Academy this morning, I was reminded of the significant role that my grandparents played in my childhood. I thought to share with you some thoughts of what I learnt from my grandparents…

As a child, the time spent with grandparents often seems “timeless”.

Looking back, I think you learn so much from grandparents because they have so much time – they don’t have ‘a job’ –  so they have time to spend with you!

It is difficult to distil everything I learnt from my grandparents into a few points, but here is an effort nonetheless.

Lessons learnt without a curriculum

My Grandpa was kind and compassionate.

He was highly respected in the community because of always keeping the needs of others in mind.

His view was that people are human with diverse needs and he treated people as individuals –  and not as a means to his own goals.

My Grandpa had patience! 

He was patient when we built kites and taught us fly-fishing.

He was patient when teaching us to solve problems while building go-carts; and patient when teaching us about vegetable gardening.

My grandparents’ vegetable garden was a magical place.

A place where I learnt about soil, preparing to plant, plants, germination, watering, harvesting and preserving the harvested vegetables.

Many hours were spent with my grandparents around the kitchen table –  cutting, blanching and packing vegetables for winter.

Conversations around the old oak kitchen table with my grandparents taught me the art of conversation.

We spoke about the seasons, what trout fly to use in every season, which vegetables to grow in each season and about the ways to make my go cart go faster.

Sometimes we would not even speak, just spend time together.

Life-lessons learnt

In all these interactions I learnt to plan, do, evaluate and persevere.

To constantly water the vegetables, to keep on casting my line for trout and to try in different ways to improve the speed of the go-cart.

Nan had the “tea room” in the small town where I grew up.

This is where I learnt about baking and cooking.

I can still today make her breakfast scones, meat balls and homemade salad dressing from memory!

She taught me how to make rusks, milk tart, lay a table, serve people and always keep the needs of others in mind.

Nan grew up during the Second World War. This taught her to be ingenious. She re-purposed everything and “could make something from nothing”, wasting nothing.

Nan taught me that people are more important than things and that family relations are important.

I loved spending those hours with her and gaining from her wisdom.

Learning in natural settings

I find myself asking the question:  Did I learn more from what I have been taught in school – or did I learn more from my grandparents?

Reflecting on my childhood, I realised that I learnt so much from my grandparents without them having a pre-set curriculum, a lesson plan, test or a report.

 They never taught me the price of anything, rather the value of everything.


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