The eulogy I delivered (loosely….at least these are my NOTES….not sure how closely I stuck to it) at my Grandmother’s funeral.
“The number one indicator of success for a child is a good relationship with a caring adult” – Fortune Magazine.
In the work that I do, something that we hear about a lot is mentoring. The foundation of mentoring is the idea that if caring, concerned adults are available to young people, the young people will be more likely to become successful adults themselves.
On the surface, most people live lives of little significance. We’re born….we work….we take care of our families….we grow old….and we die. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that the world has been impacted because we’ve lived.
One thing that I learned from my grandmother is that we never know the impact that we make by simply being involved in people’s lives. We never know how much our presence in this world can mean to one lonely child.
We don’t have to do great and awesome things. Grandma didn’t. She didn’t take me to see great works of art….or to sample exotic foods….or to the theatre. She didn’t do anything huge or amazing. She played Scrabble with me. She listened to me. Looking at the big picture, all she ever did for me was love me. She gave me her love, a handful of romance novels, and a cast-iron pot.
Most of you know that I work with high-risk youth. But it’s more than that. For most of my adult life, I’ve been committed to teaching the forgotten children of society to dig deep within themselves to find the strength that they need to be the best that they can be. It’s my whole purpose in life. Numerous people can tell you that it’s about all that matters to me. I’m often guilty of not making time for anything that doesn’t support this purpose.
There is an anonymous quote that I like….I’ve made it the creed that I live by.
“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
I don’t think I’m the only person whose life was touched by Grandma. I don’t really know what impact she had on the lives of anyone else in this room. But I can tell you that a hundred years from now, the world will be different because Gladys Stropes was important in the life of one child.