My grandparents were Baptist. They lived the principles they studied in the bible. Yesterday I mentioned that they went out of their way to make sure I understood the difference between right and wrong; they taught me those values by making sure that I understood the bible. This is not to say that we did bible studies on a regular basis outside of church, but they took every opportunity to connect the bible to teachable moments in our interactions. Whenever we went to visit them, it was understood that we would all go to church on Sunday (even if my father planned to drive home on that day).
My grandparents lived by the philosophy that all people are created equal. They taught me that no one person is better than anyone else, our experiences dictate the kind of people we are, and sometimes those experiences will cause us to do and say things that don’t represent who we are. They also believed that every person deserves a second chance; I was taught to treat others the way I expect to be treated. Regardless of what others do, I am solely responsible for my actions and reactions – Mama Zee made sure I had a thorough understanding of that fact. She wanted to be sure that I didn’t end up blaming my parents for any of the outcomes in my life. She told me that I could overcome anything that happened in my childhood by taking responsibility for my life.
My grandfather believed that if you worked hard, you would reap the benefits of your efforts. For 30 years, he was a loyal employee for the post office; he considered himself to be “a company man.” He taught me to always give 100% of myself to anything I do.
Mama Zee and Papa Frankie believed that education was the single most important key to success. Their definition of success was financial independence, and being a responsible citizen (things like going to church, voting, and giving to those who are less fortunate). They always encouraged me to value education.