Tag Archives: generational wisdom

From the desk of Doc Smo- Life Lessons from the Grandpa’s Chair

The other day, my wife asked me to refinish an old chair (at least 100 years old) that we got from her mother’s house during our last visit.  I can tell that this chair has strong emotional value for my wife by the way she speaks about it.  As I began the refinishing process, I wondered why this chair is so important to her.  The chair itself is plain, high-backed, and wooden with a cane seat–really nothing special in my book. It’s the kind of chair you see at a consignment or antique furniture store.

Then it struck me.  It is not the chair but all the memories that the chair awakens.  My wife tells me that her grandfather sat in the chair every evening after dinner.  I began to imagine her grandfather listening to radio coverage of World War II in this chair.  Later, he would have listened to coverage of the Korean Conflict.  Later still, he would have watched his first television from this chair.  The chair undoubtedly was part of her family’s witness of all the great events of the 20th century and possibly some of the 19th century as well.  My wife loves the chair because she loved her grandparents; the chair is a concrete reminder of them, their lives, and of all that they mean to her.

While regluing and cleaning the chair, I concluded that it is indeed an important piece of furniture.  It should be treated with great respect, as should all old things. Everything we have today is a function of what came before us.  We all need to remember that fact in our dealings with one another. As you go about your parenting today and everyday, remember that what seems mundane and ordinary in your interactions with your children may turn out to be very important to them.  They may put a lot of emotional value into everyday ordinary events that you might not even remember a year from now.  Fixing them breakfast, helping them with a hurt, asking their opinion may turn out to be as important as paying for their college education.  Something to think about.