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How To Be Successful Socially

A Grandmother's Example

· social,life lessons

It was a hot summer day in Mid-August of 1993. The blistering heat was beaming down on me. The pain was almost unbearable. I was determined to stay for the duration of my 12-year-old grandson’s baseball games.

My grandson was a good baseball player. He has been playing recreation baseball since he was eight years old. I have attended every game. My name is Geraldine Phillips, known to my grandson as “Grammy.” As I was sitting at the ballpark on that hot day in August, I was thinking how proud Grampy would have been of our grandson. Matt had made the all-star team and he was here for a day of baseball. His team started in the morning and kept on playing as long as they kept winning. Matt’s team kept on winning. I had the feeling that Grampy, which is my husband Kirby, was with me that day in spirit. Grampy had passed away a year earlier. He attended most of Matt’s games until he became so sick that he couldn’t. I felt like he was looking down from Heaven. I missed him. He was my soul mate. Enough about me. This is Matt’s Day.

It’s about him. It’s his moment and I was determined to endure it physically. Matt’s team played 4 games that day and won the championship. I had been sitting at the ballpark for over 8 hours. I was shaking and quivering behind my scarf. The scarf helped to keep the wind and heat off my face. I have an advanced case of cancer and it was growing worse daily. Being outside in the weather caused me discomfort. I confided with my friend Becky who was my loyal counterpart at the games. Becky had a grandson who played on the team. I said, “Becky, I’m in severe pain and I don’t know if I can make it for the duration of the games.” Becky offered to drive me home. I said, “No, don’t mention this to my children. I am staying here. It’s not about me. This is Matt’s day.”

Unknowing to her children and especially Matt, this would be the last time that Grammy would see her grandson play baseball. Her health declined rapidly, and she passed away the following summer. It’s not about me. This was Grammy’s attitude about her grandson. Grammy took the time to become involved in Matt’s life. She got down on his level. She was involved in the most important thing in Matt’s life at that time. Grammy didn’t care about baseball, she cared about Matt. Matt loved baseball. Grammy showed her love to Matt by her actions, which was attending his baseball games. She never missed a game in the four years she lived to see him play. She was in attendance even when it wasn’t comfortable because of the pain resulting from the cancer. The scope of her love reached far beyond her grandson. She would constantly make deposits of love into people’s lives. She was well respected and admired in the community. I knew Grammy very well. She was always kind and sweet to me. She gave me my first paying painting job when I was in high school. She had a genuine caring attitude about everyone she met.

Matt continued his baseball career in the following years through middle school and finally high school. His parents had been noticing during his baseball games in middle school and high school that Matt had a ritual before he approached the plate to bat. He would scribble something in the sand. They figured that he was just doodling or something. Finally, during his senior year of high school their curiosity got the best of them. They asked him what he was scribbling in the sand. He said, “I am writing GP and KP in the sand. It stands for Grammy (Geraldine Phillips) and Grampy (Kirby Phillips). I think about them before I approach the plate to bat. I scribble their initials in honor of their love for me.”

Their legacy lives on in the life of their grandson. Isn’t it amazing that we as selfish creatures crave love and attention? That’s natural. We get upset as parents when our grown children or grandchildren don’t visit us as we think they should. We say, you never come see me or call.

Maybe you have a broken relationship with a loved one, or you say so and so did me wrong but I am not going to apologize. They hurt me. We think it’s all about “me”. If you truly want to receive love and attention, especially from family and friends, why not forget about you and invest in their lives even when it’s not comfortable? The only person you have control of is yourself. If you develop this attitude that Geraldine Phillips lived out in her life, then one day you might experience the honor and privilege of a special person carving your initials in the sand for everyone to see as a result of you coming to the realization that “It’s Not about Me”.

Grammy’s actions of showing her love to her grandson and others served her well. Her legacy of love profoundly impacted the lives of people who knew her. Was she a social success in her life? I would say so - just ask Matt. I have always been intrigued by learning from other people how to be successful. Geraldine Phillips was one of those people. If you want to be successful socially, then follow her example