Life Lessons From My Grandpa

This week one of the strongest, greatest men I’ve ever known entered into Heaven – my grandpa or as our family called him, “Papaw.”

There’s not many out there like my Papaw. Strong willed and strong in heart. Respected and respectful. Papaw was the kind of man who made a lasting impact on everything and everyone he touched.

Like many grandpas – Papaw had a knack for telling great stories. He was always ready to remind us about the good ole’ days filled with hard times and hard work.

I learned a lot of lessons from his stories, but the greatest lessons of all – I learned from his actions, not just his words. Papaw always led by example. He loved hard work and he loved to stay busy. But what I think he loved most of all – was blessing others with what God had blessed him with.

And one thing that God definitely blessed him with was a strong work ethic. It was that work ethic that would eventually inspire him to start a company – Speegle Contracting.

And now, over 40 years later, that company is still blessing our family.

That was one thing that I’m sure Papaw was most proud about. Not just that he had created a successful business, but that the successful business he created was blessing his family.

It’s not easy imagining the future without Papaw’s stories, but thankfully the lessons he taught me in them will live on.

In fact, the very evening I heard the news of his passing I was given an opportunity to put one of his lessons into practice. I had just decided to mow grass when I was given the dreaded call. And as I hung up the phone I noticed my neighbor across the street.

His grass was knee high and he was fighting with a push mower to get the job done. I contemplated on whether or not I should offer my help. I came up with all kind of excuses initially – “He probably doesn’t even want my help…, “it’s going to get too dark to mow my own lawn…”, etc..etc..

In all honesty, I didn’t even want to mow my own lawn. The numbness of the news about my grandpa had begun to creep over me and cutting my lawn didn’t exactly feel reverent.

After mulling it over in my mind for a moment, though, I realized that is exactly what my grandpa would want me to do. There wasn’t much that impressed Papaw, but helping others and working hard were among the few things that did.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had to do it. God had blessed me with a perfectly good riding lawn mower and now I had the opportunity to bless someone else with it.

I walked across the street and offered my help, to which my neighbor gladly and appreciatively accepted.

As I circled my neighbor’s yard, tears began filling my eyes, and I couldn’t help but think that my Papaw would be proud of me. I was blessing someone else with what God had blessed me with – just as he had taught us to do his entire life.

I pray that I never forget that lesson and I hope that you don’t either. God has blessed you with something. And if He’s blessed you with it, I can assure you that He intends for you to use it to help others.

Maybe you have a strong work ethic and a determined spirit, just like my grandpa. Maybe you have a gift or talent that you’ve been hiding. Maybe you’re holding on to something for yourself, that God wants you to give to others.

Whatever God has put in you or on you I want to encourage you to give it away.

There are so many memories that I’ll never forget of my Papaw. Watching him pull out his weathered Bible in the early morning hours… the way his face lit up when he was bragging on Nana’s biscuits… and the way he described the early days of Speegle Contracting.

So many stories. So many lessons to be learned. And although he has moved on now (to a much better place) – I’m certain that I will spend the rest of my life gleaning from the life that he lived while he was here. And for that, I couldn’t be more thankful.

Papaw’s life was lived to the fullest and most important of all – it was lived for Jesus.

12 CommentsLeave a comment

  • One of the best posts you’ve written. You’re papas was a great man. As one pastor said about another great man, your papas was a mental giant. I’m so sorry for your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with your family today and days to come.

  • Sorry to hear of your Papaw’s passing, sounds like Heaven gained another awesome man, I look forward to meeting him one day. Thank you for sharing this story.

  • Wonderful sentiments ,and so truthful.I also loved to hear his stories,and I loved the twinkle in his eyes when he spoke of his family,he loved you all dearly.I will always admire his and your Nana’s giving,loving spirit,they have been such a blessing to Edward and me.Love them and hope I can be there for your Nana,to help comfort her at this hard time.

  • What an inspiration!! Thanks for the story & how it will impact those of us that read it!! My family loves your family very much!! Felton Speegle was a blessing!!!!

  • Dear Tyler,

    Hey! such a great story you had shared with us. Our Grandpa creates a fabulous role in our life to become a success person. Thank you so much for your awesome story.

  • Really enjoyed reading this post, Tyler. It sounds like you have internalised wonderful lessons gleaned from your grandfather, and incorporated these into your life. That’s the greatest gift we can offer our mentors. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for such an inspiring story. I stopped going to church awhile ago and believing. Then, while looking at funny pictures on the internet, I found your story in an ad. I just had my first baby with my husband and realized I want to set a good example like your Papaw did for your family. I’ll definitely be going back to church with my son.

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