I wanted to be as strong as my Grandpa.
I hoped to one day know as much about everything like my Grandpa seemingly did.
I even wanted my hair to be wavy just like Grandpa.
My Grandpa was one of the coolest people I knew and I wanted to be just like him when I grew up.
After all what’s not to like about a man that makes ice cream and fudge, hides candy by his bedside, and drives a big red truck!
As I grew older, dreams of driving a truck changed. I even gave up on having wavy hair – the length of my hair became an ongoing debate for me and my Grandpa (it was never short enough for him). I also discovered my own interests and those weren’t always the same as Grandpa’s. Heck, we didn’t even root for the same baseball team – He the Cubs and me the Reds! But even as my dreams grew and changed, one thing remained the same – I still wanted to grow up to be just like my Grandpa – honest, caring, selfless, strong of will, gentle of spirit, a man of quiet yet strong faith – a man of integrity.
Today (like most fathers), I struggle with the task of raising a son who thinks his Grandpa is way cooler than his own Dad. But the lessons I learned growing up have become the key to living with that frustration.
What I have learned is that if I can teach my son to be proud of his name Riley Eugene Frieden and the stories and heritage that have come before it … If I can remember to teach him about the man who started this tradition — not what he did, but who he was and what he stood for … If I can do that, I will succeed in teaching my son the most important lessons in life:
When you grow up, Grow up to be just like your great grandpa and your grandpa – that’s what I have tried to do. Learn to say your name with pride and hold your head high.
Some will ask what’s so important about a a name?
The answer is not much unless that name was R E Frieden and then it can mean everything.
Thanks for that lesson Grandpa.