Dear Next Generation: Lessons From a 91-Year-Old Grandmother

By Dear Next Generation
Dear Next Generation
Dear Next Generation
September 29, 2021 Updated: September 29, 2021

I’m a 91-year-old woman, mother of three, and great-grandmother of six.

The following list is what I’ve learned during my lifetime. Some of the things I’ve learned by experience, as I haven’t always adhered to these principles. I’ve been to the school of hard knocks, and I’ve learned these things to be true.

1. Be honest in all things, as honesty gives you a clear conscience. Dishonesty weighs you down.

2. Don’t speak ill of others. You don’t know their complete circumstances. When someone speaks negative things about someone, try to find something positive to say about that person. You’ll find that this creates within you a love and better understanding of people.

3. Pray often to your God for guidance in life, as life can sometimes be hard, and you’ll find times when you don’t know what to do. Things will fall into place, maybe not as you would like, but you’ll find that whatever happens, it will turn out to your satisfaction—and sometimes your amazement.

4. Don’t worry about what’s happening in the world, unless there’s something you can do about it. However, stay in touch with what’s happening, as you may in some small or large way make a difference.

5. Stay in touch with your family, from your siblings to your grandparents. You’ll gain a lot from their histories, and as you grow older, you’ll wish that you had conversed with them more to know them better. Make it a ritual to be with them monthly or more if they live close, or if they’re far away, visit them at least once a year.

6. Take some time for yourself to be alone, as someday you may be alone and will need to be able to entertain yourself. This usually happens when you live longer than your family or friends. Get to know your neighbors, so you can help them or call on them when in need.

7. Keep your mind and body active, always learn and experience new things.

8. Try to visit all the states in this great country before making a trip to foreign countries. There are wonderful things to see here in the United States.

9. When and if you find someone you would like to be with for the rest of your life, get to know that person well before making a commitment. Love at first sight sometimes backfires, and you can find yourself dissatisfied and unhappy later on.

10. And lastly, a happy marriage depends on cooperation and understanding of your soulmate’s needs and vice versa. Be free to enjoy the things that you love to do and let your partner be free also. Be faithful to one another, so that distrust doesn’t enter into your marriage. If your partner wants the two of you to do something together, cooperate and try to enjoy the moment, even if it’s something you don’t especially care for. There will be times when you’ll feel the same. And sometimes, surprisingly, you may find it enjoyable. There will be times when you’re angry at one another, but never let the sun go down on your anger. Get over it. If you keep anger overnight, it destroys a little bit of the adoration you have for your mate. Each little hurt takes away the romance you had at the beginning, so be careful what you do or say.

Patricia Toombs, Fresno


Some basics I tried to impart to my children:

You can’t help others until you’ve helped yourself.

Never forget favors done for you, but always forget favors you’ve done for others.

Don’t judge a man or woman until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.

Never look back, something may be gaining on you. Charge forward, the past is prologue.

L.J. Martin, Montana


Slow down, talk slower. We older people hear better if folks speak slower. What’s the rush?

Marty Chilton, Oregon


Having attended the “Borrego Broads” Bible study for many years (actually 30), we decided to stray from the good book—twice. We did an independent and conjunctive study of the women of the Bible. It was very interesting, and we learned some background information on prominent women. The second time, we studied a book called “The Purpose Driven Life.” One of the ladies said her Bible study at church studied it and thought all of us might benefit from it.

It was interesting in that we learned that God has a purpose for us that might not be what we thought our purpose was. As I’ve grown older, I’ve had the delight of looking back at some interesting developments and memories. I went about my life trying to do “the right thing”—as I had learned it—growing up.

There are all stages of humanity: being born, growing up, learning, giving back to God and fellow man, and eventually leaving this world hopefully having done something meaningful with our lives. I thought I needed to do and be something useful for humanity: learn as much as I could, find a loving companion, have a family, and contribute my knowledge and family to society. That seemed like a reasonable flow chart! Now I feel like I did that. Having aged, I look back at the “good things” I’ve accomplished and realize there’s more than just these things. Life is filled with intangibles!

How can my “purpose” aid others? I see it in others as they go about everyday issues. I can’t see the purpose of my life until I get a warm feeling about helping someone, mostly by encouraging people. I can see the ripples upon the water of my life as a pebble casts ripples on a pond.

I recognize that people have been the pebbles rippling the water of my life. I’ve recollected and cherished the memories of people who have encouraged me. I can’t count how many times I’ve doubted and failed over the years and have been lifted up by someone with a thought or gesture. It inspires me to be someone else’s pebble. I guess my purpose-driven life is to be someone’s pebble!

Bonniegail Coleman, Colorado


The Military Subordinate’s Code: Big Fish, Little Fish

Suppose a superior calls you out. Your three allowable responses are:

1. “Yes, Sir”

2. “No, Sir”

3. “No excuse, Sir”

Then shut up!

Stand at attention and maintain eye contact (you’ll sweat!).

The supervisor will most likely ask for an explanation.

  • Don’t go on and on.
  • Don’t blame others, the hour, the weather, or the system.
  • For God’s sake, don’t lie or fabricate!
  • Do take responsibility for your actions and the results.

The superior knows this code and if you stick with it without blinking, the superior will cut you some slack, maybe even smile—been there, done that!

Ask, “May I be excused, sir?” If he says, “Yes,” step back one step, about-face, and get out of Dodge!

The superior has other fish to fry!

Lt. Col. Clair E. Walter USAF (Retired)


I rode out to Sturgis, South Dakota, with a few friends of mine to take part in their annual motorcycle rally held in August. This is an occasion where all types of individuals get together to share experiences, admire the bikes, and have a few beers. It’s also an occasion where you can meet some very rough individuals who are there to take out their anger or show their attitude to the unsuspecting participants. This is the place where one should remember what I call “the power of the nod.” Just a mere nod of your head when someone is approaching you can stave off any uncomfortable situation. A little recognition in the way of respect is all it takes. However, the nod doesn’t always work.

While sitting at a bar, a rough-looking Hell’s Angels biker was sitting in the seat next to me, and I greeted him with my patented nod.

“What are you looking at?” wasn’t the response I expected. Realizing I needed to diffuse the situation as quickly and peacefully as possible, I replied: “A man that could use a beer. Can I buy you one?” Not only did this diffuse the situation, but he warmed up to me as if he was my best friend.

Someone once said that a person who throws the first punch ran out of words.

Steve Lurie, Illlinois


What advice would you like to give to the younger generations?

We call on all of our readers to share the timeless values that define right and wrong, and pass the torch, if you will, through your wisdom and hard-earned experience. We feel that the passing down of this wisdom has diminished over time, and that only with a strong moral foundation can future generations thrive.

Send your advice, along with your full name, state, and contact information to or mail it to: Next Generation, The Epoch Times, 5 Penn Plaza, 8th Fl., New York, NY, 10001.