Out of all the blogs I’ve posted, the one that seems to have inspired readers the most has to be the story of my Grandpa and his pick ax http://drtimthayne.com/2010/06/grandpas-pick-ax/. The old pick ax was on display this past week as we honored Grandpa at his funeral.
The night we heard he had moved on, Roxanne and I were driving south to Arizona for my sister Callie’s wedding. We were on our way to celebrate a new union and the beginning of a new family, when the patriarch of the Thayne family passed. He was 92.
The next few hours were spent reminiscing with each other and with family members by phone. Tears were shed and hearts were lifted as we mourned his death and celebrated an extraordinary and inspiring life.
His life was one remarkable story after another. Surviving being kicked in the head by a horse at age 8, having two cars fall on him, having three daughters die, raising 4 of his granddaughters, scraping out a living, surviving cancer 22 years past his prescribed death date by eating only nutritious and life sustaining foods, etc. As my grandmother said in her written history “We had four bare hands and two hearts full of love. Others may have had more that we did, but no one had more love.” This was illustrated best for us as he used his 8th grade education, and unlimited mechanical ingenuity to create inventions to care for grandma when she was bedridden the last 6 years of her life. One of those being the hoist system he created to lift her from her bed to the bathroom, made with wheels, a metal tripod frame, cables, and a soft sheep skin sling for her comfort.
On the day of his funeral the printed program listed his posterity. There were well over 200 names. Many of those listed; grandchildren, great grandchildren and a few great great grandchildren, sat in the church pews last Saturday, hearts open, inspired, and proud to be related to this 5’6” giant of a man “tough as they come.”
On the way home my niece, who’s other great grandfather was a very prominent individual in our religious community, commented that being there and hearing story after story about her great grandpa made her proud to be a Thayne. She valued and identified with the stories of his simple, determined, and loyal life.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. My hope is that you and your family will be able to share stories around the dinner table that highlight the strengths of your heritage. Children and teens need this. Every one of them needs to see the connection of their own unfolding story with these people and the values and character represented by their stories.
One more piece of advice: as you pick the stories, be selective. Choose to retell stories that lift, that bring good humor, and that highlight strengths rather than weaknesses. The stories we tell ourselves, and those we tell our children, have an impact and tend to manifest in our lives.
Wishing you all a joyful Thanksgiving, with a generous serving of the best stories your family has to offer.
Tim Thayne, Ph.D.