open letter to grandkids
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 14, 2024 ·  3 min read

Grandfather Pens Powerful Open Letter to His Grandkids About Childhood

There is something about grandparents’ wisdom that speaks volumes. You can be a wide-eyed grandchild or a jaded adult – grandparents can cut through anything with their life experience and truths. The open letter we’re sharing with you today is from a grandfather to his grandchildren about childhood. However, we believe adults will even gain something valuable from reading it once or twice. It sums up what life is and, more importantly, can be.

On Childhood: An Open Letter to My Grandkids

Here’s the full open letter, excerpted from author Lee Pitts’ essay, These Things I Wish: (1,2)

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better. I’d really like for them to know about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.  I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother.  And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.  On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom. If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmastime when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you–tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life.  Written with a pen.  Sealed with a kiss.  Send this to all of your friends who mean the most to you. And if I die before you, I’ll go to Heaven and wait for you.

Keep Reading: Watching Your Dad Become A Grandpa Is The Gift No One Tells You About