Things my grandma taught me

Liz Stephens, Columnist

Aug. 27 is my Grandma Carolyn’s birthday, and this year she turned seventy-one. My Grandma Carolyn is a sweet southern woman who talks and cooks like Paula Deen, but thankfully my grandma uses a lot less butter.

Recently my Grandma Carolyn, Aunt Lauren and cousin Selah drove about 10 hours from southern Arkansas to come see the opera I was casted in toward the beginning of this month. It was the sweetest moment seeing my family in the audience smiling and beaming with pride as I was on stage.

My grandma is one of the women that you probably want to sit down for coffee with, and gain all of her insight on life, at some point.

She never sat down and preached lessons to me, and she never lectured me on how to handle situations or act in life.

The lessons I learned from her were learned silently. I watched how she handled situations, how she treated people, and I listened intently to the things she said and how she said them.

The only lesson I remember learning verbally from her is when I asked her the difference between a “redneck” and a “hillbilly.” I was shocked to discover the difference between the two is very obvious, but I figured there would be no better person to ask than my southern grandma.

My grandma modeled how to act with grace toward people, and to show love to those who prove to be undeserving of it sometimes. She taught me that while it is important to love people, it is also important to know to let go of those who do not want and appreciate the love you give.

She unknowingly taught me how to use the phrase “bless your heart” both as a sweet remark and as a sarcastic, mild insult. The thing about my grandma is you never know if she has insulted you until the conversation has ended, and you replay the conversation in your head and realize the real meaning behind what she said.

I think the biggest lesson my grandma ever taught me was to keep a sweet and gentle heart in a not-so-sweet, not-so-gentle world. I’ve come to realize that in my age group, students think it is cool to be cold-hearted and I often see them bragging on social media about being “heartless.”

I was taught that those who claim to be heartless are often the people hurting the most and are the ones who have let the world turn them into someone like Ebenezer Scrooge.

Many students succumb to the trend of pretending like they do not care about anything in life, but I refuse to.

Maybe students who have fallen captive to that mindset could benefit from some of the lessons my grandma has taught me, because she has taught me how to forgive others repetitively, to always give people the benefit of the doubt, to love and enjoy life fearlessly and that caring is not a weakness.

I am blessed my grandma is still alive and in my life to talk to and learn from.

I wish I was able to go to Mimi’s Café with her for her birthday today and give her a big hug.

To my Grandma Carolyn, who I know reads all my articles and will see this one, know that I love you and can not wait to fly down and see you soon.

Liz Stephens is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]