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The Top 10 Things Norman Vincent Peale Taught His Granddaughter

The importance of family, faith, compassion and giving.

Dr. and Mrs. Norman Vincent Peale

Our eldest daughter is a rising high school senior so, this summer, my husband and I have taken her to tour campuses, attend college’s information sessions and explore the cities and towns surrounding the colleges. We’ve also spent hours together in the car. Very special times.

One college had a very interesting way of getting to know its applicants. It asked the applicant to make a Top 10 list about anything she chose, which led to many good conversations around the ideas my daughter shared and helped us get to know her better, too

I have had fun thinking about a Top 10 list of my own. In light of my blogging for Guideposts as one of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Mrs. Ruth Stafford Peale’s grandchildren, I cannot help but think about the top 10 things I learned from them.

Unlike a true top 10 list, I do not have these in any specific order, as I always felt that each lesson held a significant weight for them. Here are my all-time favorite lessons from Grandma and Grandpa Peale.

1)  Make Time for Family

Time spent together as a family, with both connections and memories being made, was deeply important to my grandparents.

2)  Travel Together as Much as You Can

It was through many very generous and adventurous trips that Grandma and Grandpa provided for us that we strengthened our family connections and made many, many precious, hilarious and unforgettable memories.

3)  Keep the Faith

Grandma and Grandpa’s faith was real. It was vast. It was challenged. It triumphed every time.

4)  Show God’s Grace and Love

It was because of the strength of their faith that Grandma and Grandpa were able to show us, hence teach us, about the power of God’s love for each of us and the grace that surrounds us because of this love. We have an opportunity each day to feel His love and the grace that comes with it. They lived this.

5)  Be Humble

Grandma and Grandpa were a team, and they had deep love for each other and for all people. They were humbled by the blessing they had in being able to be a part of and inspire so may lives through their mission and their work. It was never about them; it was about others being able to see themselves as valuable and loved by God.

6)  Be Vulnerable

How can we help others or connect with others without understanding vulnerability in ourselves? Grandma and Grandpa taught us that to be helped, to be open to the love of God and that of others, requires vulnerability.

7)  Have a Strong Work Ethic

One of the realizations I had as I hit my teens was the amount of time Grandma and Grandpa spent on airplanes each and every week, visiting multiple cities, making speaking engagements. During those weeks, they were writing, thinking, innovating, planning and connecting with others. And then the weekends would come and Grandpa would write his sermons and preach at Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Truly amazing.

8)  Appreciate Nature

Grandma and Grandpa found peace in nature. They would spend time driving on country roads surrounding their Pawling, NY, home and sitting on their property taking in the fresh air, stellar and ancient trees, the lushness, and the snow covered lawns. They showed us how to be present and quiet in, and appreciative of, our natural world.

9)  Give Back and Pay it Forward

Filled by God’s love and grace, Grandma and Grandpa so naturally felt the desire to give back to their community, near and far. For them, it was an extension of their love of God. They were thoughtful and intentional about their giving, and their gifts continue to impact lives as a result.

10) Don’t Forget Family

Taking care of and being close with family was so important to my grandparents, I have to mention it again. No matter how far they traveled or how many lives they touched, making time for family was always a priority and something I’ll never forget.

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