Iowa Writes

BRUCE MOORE
Wants


"I want a Nemo CD, I want a John Deere tractor and wagon, I want a set of Legos, I want..., I want..., I want...."

I had just opened my five-year-old grandson's Christmas letter and was enjoying his arduous printing as much as the letter itself. Gazing into the hissing, winking fire, I couldn't help become reflective, maybe even a bit pensive, about his list of "wants." What did I as a grandpa really "want" for him and my other two grandchildren? The usual front-runners of health, peace, and prosperity immediately popped into my mind. While these are certainly worthwhile, even noble aspirations, they don't define an individual. No, the real and lasting "wants" I have for my grandchildren is that they become individuals exemplifying characteristics of appreciation, integrity, and ambition.

Appreciation puts one' life in perspective. It reminds us that as Americans, our life style, our freedoms, and indeed life itself, are gifts from previous generations and God. My dream is that my grandchildren, upon waking every day, take a few moments to reflect on the ultimate sacrifices made by thousands in the fields of Gettysburg, the trenches of France, the hedgerows of Germany, the mountains of Korea, the jungles of Viet Nam, and the sands of Iraq. Had it not been for these heroic Americans, my grandchildren would not enjoy the freedoms of learning in the schools of their choice, worshiping in the churches of their choice or working in the jobs of their choice. Likewise, I would hope this appreciation extends to those parents, teachers, and friends that while not heroes on the battlefields, are nevertheless heroes in the home, school, and community, accepting the responsibilities of nurturing, teaching, and encouraging my grandchildren.

"I want a Nemo CD, I want a John Deere tractor and wagon, I want a set of Legos, I want..., I want..., I want...."

I had just opened my five-year-old grandson's Christmas letter and was enjoying his arduous printing as much as the letter itself. Gazing into the hissing, winking fire, I couldn't help become reflective, maybe even a bit pensive, about his list of "wants." What did I as a grandpa really "want" for him and my other two grandchildren? The usual front-runners of health, peace, and prosperity immediately popped into my mind. While these are certainly worthwhile, even noble aspirations, they don't define an individual. No, the real and lasting "wants" I have for my grandchildren is that they become individuals exemplifying characteristics of appreciation, integrity, and ambition.

Appreciation puts one's life in perspective. It reminds us that as Americans, our life style, our freedoms, and indeed life itself, are gifts from previous generations and God. My dream is that my grandchildren, upon waking every day, take a few moments to reflect on the ultimate sacrifices made by thousands in the fields of Gettysburg, the trenches of France, the hedgerows of Germany, the mountains of Korea, the jungles of Viet Nam, and the sands of Iraq. Had it not been for these heroic Americans, my grandchildren would not enjoy the freedoms of learning in the schools of their choice, worshiping in the churches of their choice or working in the jobs of their choice. Likewise, I would hope this appreciation extends to those parents, teachers, and friends that while not heroes on the battlefields, are nevertheless heroes in the home, school, and community, accepting the responsibilities of nurturing, teaching, and encouraging my grandchildren.

The second "want" I have for my grandchildren is that they be defined by their integrity. We are at a time in history when word-smithing and deceit are common business and political practices. People of integrity are impugned as buffoons not on the cutting edge of societal evolution. Today, behavior that fifty years ago would have been unacceptable or even unimaginable now is seen as normal, in the name of tolerance and enlightenment. I would hope that my grandchildren's integrity would enable them to see through the sound bites and hidden agendas and rely on God as their moral compass, guiding them through a life based on principles that have withstood the test of time for thousands of years.

The final "want" I have for my grandchildren is that they understand the importance of ambition in achieving not only their material goals but also their spiritual and emotional goals. Nothing is more tragic than seeing those lacking in ambition play the role of victim, being content to blame their shortcomings and failures on the government, society, God, the weather, or bad luck. Conversely, nothing is more uplifting than seeing the ambitious achieve remarkable results regardless of their circumstances.  I can only hope that for their own sake and the sake of their country, my grandchildren demonstrate the ambition inherent in productive and responsible members of society.

How will I know if my "wants" for my grandchildren are materializing from the abstract to the real? That's easy. Every time I hear, "Thanks Grandpa, I love you," I'll know.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


BRUCE MOORE

Bruce Moore grew up in the small farming community of Earlham, Iowa. He received his B.A. from the University of Iowa and his M.A. (Biology) from Drake University. He and his wife Betsy live in Geneseo, Illinois, and have four children ranging in age from 23 to 33.

This page was first displayed
on April 29, 2008

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