Just last week, I attended my oldest daughter’s last parent-teacher conference of the year.
I got an update on recent test scores and assignments… a pretty typical meeting between parent and teacher.
As we wrapped things up, her teacher shared one last assessment, a writing project. As she handed it to me she said, “I’ve read many of these, but this one caused me to tear up.” I wondered why and as soon as I saw it I knew. The essay was titled, “Papa.” It contained all of the wonderful things she shared with her grandfather before he passed away. In fact, I can hardly type this post without tears in my eyes.
My daughter wrote about sharing ice cream with her Papa and going to the park with him. She even remembered how he would sing "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" to wake her up in the mornings. And she recalled how sad she felt when he died. Her grandfather passed away nearly three years ago and now at age nine, she still remembers him like it was yesterday. She remembers everything.
I shared the essay with a colleague who has grandchildren. She said, “I hope my grandkids will remember me this way.” That message really hit home for me. How do grown ups gauge success? If it’s measured in love and lasting impressions, I’m pretty sure that Papa was one successful man… the kind of man that would inspire such a touching and sensitive essay.