Wisdom from the Greatest Generation

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Inspiration

Sandy and I were raised by the generation of people known as “The Greatest Generation.” We are beyond grateful for that because we truly do believe they were the greatest. We’ve gleaned so much wisdom from a generation who not only lived through the Great Depression but turned right around to fight in World War II. 

Their values and way of living are lost among newer generations, so we wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to a truly beautiful generation and the wisdom they passed on. In particular, we want to share with you one amazing man in our lives who was my father, Grant Hawkins.  

Notes from My Father, Grant 

When I was growing up, everything my father said seemed to be a life lesson. As I grew older, I began to appreciate more and more of his wisdom and began writing down everything he said. I have a box of notes that I’ve kept over the decades of wisdom I was able to capture.  

I want to share a few of those quotes with you. 

On Attitude 

“If you don’t like the road you’re on, take a different road.” 

This one may seem like a straightforward and obvious piece of advice, but when it comes down to it, it’s easier said than done. I’m so thankful my father urged me to find something new when what I was doing wasn’t working. I heard him say this frequently throughout my time with him. I love that he always encouraged me to make a change when he sensed I needed that push. 

On Life 

“If you don’t try, how will you know?” 

My dad always encouraged me to follow my passion, but how do you know what your passion is if you don’t go out there and try? 

My parents always encouraged trying new things, but they, along with much of the Greatest Generation, believed that quitting wasn’t an option. This was another valuable lesson that I’ve held with me and hold fast to.  

On Work 

“Failure is not falling down. Failure is not getting up.” 

To my dad, it wasn’t swinging and missing that was the failure. It was refusing to step in the batter’s box at all. Both of my parents exemplified this philosophy throughout their lives. This wasn’t only a quote that I heard my father say, it was something I watched them live out. 

On Money 

“I’ll double whatever you bring back.” 

I tell this story in my book, Dad Always Said, but it’s worth sharing it here as well. Anytime I needed money as a kid to go do something fun with my friends, my dad would always give me some money and then say, “I’ll double whatever you bring back.” That one little challenge would instill in me the ability to spend money on things that I REALLY wanted to do or have and say “no” to the things that I knew wouldn’t matter in the long run. 

It made me think twice about buying the extra candy at the movie theater. Because I knew that if I brought those 25 cents back home, my dad would give me 25 cents more. 

What a valuable lesson to learn as a kid. 

On Relationships 

“Always open the door for women.” 

I love when I see young men opening doors for women because, as a man raised by the Greatest Generation, this was a common practice that we don’t see as much anymore. My dad always taught my three brothers and me, and he always led by example. Straight from Dad Always Said, “he was always respectful to everyone, but he believed ladies had a special place in the universe.” 

Wisdom from The Greatest Generation 

My dad not only shared these bits of wisdom with me throughout his life, but he lived them. I had the privilege of watching him lead a life of integrity, respect, and joy.  

There was so much more that Grant Hawkins gave to me with his words and actions. I took that box of quotes and turned it into a book … Dad Always Said: Wit and Wisdom of the Greatest Generation. I was honored to have John Maxwell write an endorsement of my book and have Pastor Paul Tsika write the forward. Both the endorsement and the forward touched my heart. 

I hope you can see why I loved that great generation and, in my opinion, the greatest man in the world. 

Someone holds a paper airplane with the sun glaring in the background.
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