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Your Greatest Learning Tool Is Your Grandparents

What isn’t taught in schools is common sense and how to be streetwise. In fairness, school isn’t about learning life skills—it’s the job of your parents to teach these things, but this can result in knowledge gaps.

Greg Devine

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grandparents showing their grandchild a photograph book of their past

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I’ve officially completed the first quarter of my first year of university. In terms of education, it’s essentially the highest level you can reach. The supposed pinnacle of learning…but I have another theory.

 

Of course, learning traditional academic subjects is important, i.e. maths, English, science, etc. These are all valuable elements to know and understand, which is why we’re taught them from a young age. What isn’t taught in schools, however, is common sense and how to be streetwise. In fairness, school isn’t about learning life skills—it’s the job of your parents to teach these things, but this can result in knowledge gaps.

 

Parents are amazing. I’ll owe mine so much until the day I die; however, they don’t possess every life skill, as they’ve not yet lived all their lives. My mum has often told me that parenting means learning on the job. Your grandparents, though, have a huge bank of knowledge and expertise. They’ve lived through it all. They understand what it’s like to be a child, a teenager, a young adult, a parent. They have more knowledge than any university on the subject of life.

 

I’m at an age now where the time I may have left with my grandparents could, sadly, be limited. I’ve already lost one granddad who taught me valuable handyman skills. I’m nowhere near as good as he was, but I understand the basics—such as how to wire a plug or change a fuse. School doesn’t teach you things like this, but your grandparents probably can. If I ever have girl problems, it’s not my parents that I go to, but my other granddad. He’s been through all the same issues I’ve gone through, but he’s also been part of a long and successful marriage. He knows exactly what should’ve been said to him at my age and can therefore give me the advice I need.

 

Even my close friends’ grandparents have shared valuable life lessons with me. One of them inspired me to write this article. From just a thirty-minute chat, I feel that I have so much more of an understanding of life than I had before. She talked about how there are three important ‘loves’ in your life: your family, your partner, and your hobby/interests. She believes that these are key for having a purpose and enjoying happiness in life. When you think about it, it makes sense.


 

I’ve been learning things from my grandparents from a young age. This may only be my experience, but it was my grandma who toilet trained me. A very important life skill! My nan taught me about being charitable, which I talked about in a recent article about bonfire night.

 

Ultimately, I think my generation can sometimes take their grandparents for granted. Maybe it feels like they’ll be around forever, but that’s not likely. It’s of utmost importance to me that I spend as much time as possible with my grandparents, because time is precious.

 

Grandparents are one of the most important learning tools in your life, but your time to gain such knowledge is limited. They’re unsung heroes. I hope my friends and I are the exception.