Written by Shanna Kirkpatrick, Chara Founder
The Grandparent Impact
Last month my family had the complete joy of celebrating my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary—how incredible is that milestone?! I am in awe of them. I always have been.
My grandparents have been heroes to me all my life. In addition to my amazing parents, they had a formative role in my childhood, teen, and even college years. I cannot remember a time that they were not a positive influence in my upbringing.
Gran and Papa owned Hartman Soil Center in Livingston, Texas. When my sisters and I were growing up, our summers were often spent climbing piles of bull rock, learning to drive a tractor, and helping Papa take deliveries to customers. My grandfather taught me how to drive a dump truck—many with a broken air conditioner—and how to work a very active CB radio!
I credit Gran and Papa for inspiring me to operate my own business. Over the years, I watched them build relationships with their customers and provide timely, honest, and valuable service to their neighbors. They taught me that there’s no such thing as “business ethics”—only “ethics.” These are the principles you live by, I learned, whether you were at home, in social situations, or at your workplace. They taught me how important generosity is and the deep impact that lending a helping hand can have.
Now, as a small business owner myself, when I walk through the halls of Chara Christian Dance Academy and see grandparents, I am filled with such joy. In our Chara grandparents I see my Gran and Papa. Interacting with Chara grandparents reminds me just how special it is to have their presence in our lives. Grandparents are the tender parenting partners to so many Chara parents who are blessed to live so close to one another.
I frequently see grandparents acts of love at the studio …
- Grandparents provide a sometimes difficult-to-hear perspective … while also lending a sympathetic ear.
- Grandparents reinforce parent expectations … while also sneaking in that extra scoop of ice cream.
- Grandparents speak the bold truth to moody teenagers … while also showing deep love for that teenager in a way only they can.
- Grandparents cheer their dancer’s goals … and give them a soft place to fall when the outcome isn’t what the dancer expected.
- Grandparents offer a steady hand and a steady heart … even as they burst with pride.
At Chara, we have so much gratitude for the grandparents of our dance families. To the grandma who drives her granddaughter to dance twice a week: thank you. To the grandpa who high-fives our teachers while he waits during his grandson’s music lesson: thank you. To the grandparents who contribute to their grandchild’s dream by chipping in for tuition: thank you.
Grandparents have a one-of-a-kind role in our students’ lives, and it is a privilege to bear witness to it.
Today, my grandparents continue to influence me. Their interest in Chara Christian Dance Academy and love for their great grandchildren is unwavering. Their 70 year marriage inspires me to follow their path of loyalty and love for your spouse, contribution to community, and the edification of family. Grandparents are the true definition of legacy.