Learning at Their Feet

Posted by on Sep 7, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 4 comments

Learning at Their Feet

The other day I saw one of those meme’s come across my Facebook page with this quote by Andy Rooney.

The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

The picture was of an old lady back in the fifties or sixties sitting in a bus or train station with a little boy wiggling beside her while she talked about something undoubtedly  important! At a glance, I could have sworn it was my Grandma McKnight. My breath caught in my throat and it wasn’t just because of the photo. It was the quote.

The friend who posted it said this: “I always thought this was true. Do young folks today believe that?”

It made me a bit sad that she asked the question. That she had to ask the question. I believe this is a fundamental problem in our culture. The children MUST learn at the feet of the elders.

The photo and sentiment brought another photo to mind.

I dug around in my computer picture files until I found it. Yep, there it was.

Fair 040

A precious picture of Grandma Jones and one of her great-great grandsons. Even as her brain refused to stay awake, she always would wake up for the “new ones.” She lived for the events where they were visiting. And, the grandchildren, greats, and great greats valued her presence, wit, and wisdom.

Then my mind flew to another photo I knew I had floating around my house.

Daddy & Twins

I’ve intended to scan it in for several years now. It is a picture of Daddy with two of my nieces. The photo is almost twenty years old now, and the nieces are adults finishing up their college degrees this semester. That didn’t keep them from sitting with their grandpa at the hospital when he had his stroke this past Spring. Daddy is much like his mother. He loves all of the visitors, but the ones he gets really excited about are the grandchildren. I called him one evening recently when he was spending a couple of nights in the hospital and he was anxious to share that my oldest nephew stopped by all on his own to see him.


Then, just a week ago I went to work and found I was being “floated” to another unit. I wasn’t particularly thrilled. (That is a colossal understatement.) But, even as I grouched and grumped around I knew in my heart what was going to happen. God was going to make this a day to remember. I was there to receive a blessing. I might even be given the gift of BEING a blessing. Ugh. I wanted to be a grouch. (Yes, I did have that bad attitude, I am sorry to report.)

I was right. In the first room I entered sat a grandpa, propped up in the hospital bed. A great-grandpa. His “night shift daughter” was at his side. Soon the “day shift daughter” arrived. He was charming and cheerful even in the face of illness. We started sharing stories back and forth. He was a bread delivery man. He would take his children to work with him sometimes. His granddaughter works on the 3rd floor.

“Oh really,” I said. “Who is that?”

Once her aunt pulled out her phone and showed me the picture so I could tell which Kayla it was I knew who this grandpa was. This was Kayla’s Papa. Kayla is my friend on Facebook. I’ve watched the relationship between her daughters and their Papa through the photos she posts. With her permission I want to share some of them.

Kayla baby and Papa



You see, Papa needs someone with him all of the time at home. Kayla works part time at two different jobs. So, whoever is sitting with Papa watches the baby. Only really, it is Papa and the baby watching each other. They love each other. Unconditionally.




And when Papa came home from the hospital Kayla posted this photo. Kayla baby and Papa finally home


My husband’s comment was something like, “That little girl gives him one more thing to live for.” I’d say, judging from this last photo both she and her older sister are doing a pretty good job at that!

Gracie and Papa

So, through memories and new experiences God gave me an answer to that question posted with that meme on Facebook this week. Yes, there are children who still get this. But the reason they “get it” is because their parents foster it. Their parents value the elders in their lives and the children watch and learn.

That’s how it was for me. That’s how it can be for you and your children. Grandparents Day is Sunday September 13th. How about spending the day with the grandparents in your life? Start learning at the feet of your elderly. We will all benefit from it!


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Kayla

    What a wonderful blog!

    • admin

      What a wonderful example for my blog. Hugs and prayers for your family and especially for continued healing for Papa!

  2. Joanne Constance Wanciak

    I grew up next door to this family. I loved them then and still do. This is a family that has great love and respect for each other. They have learned at the feet of their parents. Roberts Mother took care of
    Her mother Pagy. ( grand mother Page) until she passed away when I was a little girl. I never heard of any complaints about the care they gave her..Each generation continues to care for the elderly. I
    Still have yet to hear one complaint.. because it is done with heartfelt love. Now the youngest in the family are learning from the older family members that This is how it is done ,We the Ormands take
    Care of our own.

    • admin

      THAT’s what I’m talking about. Thank you for your comment. I believe there are many more families like this out there!