Grandma knows best

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Grandma Anne’s house. Each morning on her way to work, my mom dropped me off, and Grandma Anne took it from there. She made breakfast, she packed my lunch, she walked me and a friend to elementary school and came back after school to walk us home. She made afternoon snacks for me and, if applicable, my friends, and made sure I finished all my homework. She hosted birthday parties. If I was sick, she took care of me while my parents were at work. She played games and did puzzles and baked treats. Nothing was too much for Grandma Anne to handle.

Grandma Anne was also big on teaching me life lessons. It seemed she was determined that, if nothing else, I would learn these two things from her: “Time doesn’t wait for us, Melissa” and “Take pride in your work.”

I heard the second of the two most often thanks to Grandma Anne’s daily review of my homework assignments. “Don’t you take pride in your work, Melissa?”she would ask each time she looked at an assignment that involved my handwriting or, God forbid, math (Much to her chagrin, any white space on the paper was, to me, the perfect place to work out a problem. Scrap paper? Please.). It must have irked her to no end when my answer to that question was almost always: “No. It’s homework; who cares what it looks like?”

Looking back, it turns out Grandma Anne’s lessons were some of the best in the business. Luckily for me, I learned them despite myself.

  • “Time doesn’t wait for us.” Arrive early. Meet deadlines. Respect others’ time.
  • “Take pride in your work.” Or, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” No matter what you’re doing, do the best job you can. Do things right the first time. Be known as someone who’s dependable and doesn’t need to be micromanaged. Have standards and adhere to them.

And one more she taught by example instead of with words:

  • Be the best you can be. If you’re a sales person, be the company’s top seller. If you’re a business owner, run the best business in the industry. And if you’re going to be a grandma, be the best, wisest grandma around.

Melissa Rothermel serves as director of media relations for Imagine Marketing.
Contact Melissa at

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