My Personal Credo

When I was in elementary school, I had always looked up to my Grandpa George, but it was only because of the wisdom that came from his age. I loved him because he was family and I enjoyed talking to him because he was kind and engaging. Anytime I asked him questions, he would respond with great expression and look me in the eyes. He never lost his temper and always kept his composure while he was upset. He was so generous and truly cared about our family. I could tell he had a desire to please God with his life. His patience always shined through. Little did I know, however, I would soon learn much more about my inspiring grandpa when I was in high school.
I remember when our whole family would go to South Padre Island with my grandparents annually right after Christmas day. My brothers and I loved to claim sand dunes, but there were always other kids who wanted the same sand dune as us. We would actually fight over these dunes like they were our forts. My grandpa seeing the foolishness in this broke up the fights and taught me a valuable lesson: Don’t be selfish, but instead, live with character. My grandpa would take us out onto the beach and we would have such a magnificent time as the cool breeze blew across our faces. These were the best times of my life. At this point in my childhood, I just thought everything happened how you wanted it to, and life was always happy. It wasn’t until an overcast day in October of 2008 that my grandmother, who I also love, had a stroke and began to deteriorate quickly, that all these sweet memories ceased from being made and my life perspective changed drastically.
Nothing good lasts forever; this hard truth began to fill my mind. However, my grandpa didn’t see it this way; he kept his composure and took on his new responsibility of taking care of my grandmother who was unable to do anything on her own. I was so impressed at his selflessness because I was such a selfish person at this time in my life. My grandpa, not being physically strong enough to care for her at the house, was sadly forced to put her in a nursing home. Everything changed for my grandpa after that. He had to start living by himself in a house full of memories of my grandma, and he drove every day to the nursing home to see her for dinner and lunch. He wasn’t able to continue to serve as a leader in his church with separated him from many of his friends, and he couldn’t go on vacations with his wife any longer like he loved to do. He adjusted to this hard change and loss with great poise while I was so upset because I wanted things to stay the same. When I realized that he was spending most of his time at the nursing home next to her, giving up everything else he desired to do, I began to tear up because of all the love he showed despite his sadness. I would never again feel sorry for myself, or live my life selfishly. My grandpa loved spending time playing tennis and talking with his friends, but he gave this up to serve my grandma and love on her anytime possible for whatever time she has left to live. From now on anytime I feel selfish or discouraged, I will always act with love and a positive attitude.
One day in November of 2008, my Grandpa George sat down on the comfy couch in the house and began relay his life to me. I was surprised to hear that when my Grandpa George was very young, his father was severely burned to the point that he could not work to support the family. Although my grandpa was going to high school during this time, he was forced to start working in the same factory his dad used to work. I could not imagine taking on this responsibility. When he told me that he became the president of his class in high school, my eyes widened because I was even more impressed and baffled at his hardworking character. He began to smile and I could tell he was thinking about the good old days. I realized that no matter what happens to us, our memories will always be a key part of our lives to reflect on for inspiration, what we have learned, and simply for our joy and comfort. Despite his hardships as a youth, he kept his cool and took on a new responsibility with a good attitude. He didn’t complain or give up, but instead, always tried to accomplish even more. I thought to myself, how amazing it was that despite his hardships he was still able to find joy in these memories. This inspired me because when I get bogged down trials, I resort to complaining or giving up, but when I think, "What would my Grandpa do?" my attitude completely changes.
When he finally left for college, there were no dorms available because they were all already taken. At this point, I would have gone to a different college if I were him, but he didn’t lose his temper or leave the college, but instead, bought a bus and remodeled the inside into a living space. This helped me to realize that even things that seem impossible can actually be accomplished if one has the composure and perseverance to do so. My Grandpa cleverly made this vehicle before the RV was invented, so I believe my Grandpa invented the first RV. He was pleased when I told him I thought this. This part of his life as a youth taught me how I, a high school student, can live with character, self-control, and determination even at a young age.
After college, my Grandpa married my Grandma Betty, and felt God was calling him to start a church. He and a few others began to pray and plan with great faith. It really inspired me that he responded to God’s calling with such determination and willingness. They eventually started a church in Houston that still exists today called Salem Lutheran. I’m sure it took great perseverance and patience to start a church. When I deal with relationships I sometimes feel very frustrated with certain people, but I must start to show more patience. I want to display these traits as I continue accomplish goals in my life. As my Grandpa told me his life story, I noticed three common leadership traits that he displayed throughout his adventures: character, composure, and perseverance.
After finishing his story, I was in awe. Now that I am a junior in high school, I have learned to reevaluate my own life. I realized that I had been focusing too much on trying to be too many different characters. I needed to stop trying to be the ultimate person. It’s impossible, but I can live with the characteristics my grandpa taught me through his life story. If I live by these I don’t need to be the best or look to unreliable sources in my life. I also realized I had been doing way too much and as a result I felt like I had been losing everything I held with importance when it came to relationships, places, grades, family, and my childhood. I recognized that times change and the best way to react is in a positive way. I must keep striving for what is right. Realizing that I wanted to model my life after my grandpa’s, I committed to living with character, composure and perseverance no matter what the situation for the rest of my days. James Allen says, “The outer conditions of a person's life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” Because I now know what my inner beliefs are, I hope to, just as my Grandpa did, make them my outer conditions so that I can influence this world in a positive way.





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