The student body is recognizing the importance of honoring their grandparents and celebrating with John Brown University’s first annual Grandparents Day today.
Suzanna Rusco, freshman nursing major, said her 89-year-old grandfather, Bob Spears, is coming to celebrate the day and he is not the stereotypical 89-year-old.
“He is a firecracker, he never stops and keeps going all the time,” Rusco said, “During spring break we went four wheeling in Arkansas and all of his 89-year-old friends went with.”
She said it was hilarious to see how despite their age they are still able to have fun. Rusco said that her grandpa has had a major impact on her family.
“He’s been one of the biggest influences in keeping my family together, because almost all our family lives in Tulsa, so growing up we did lots of things with him,” she said. “We would get together every Saturday and had this tradition for Monday lunches.”
Although Rusco said her grandpa Spears is the only one of her grandparents still alive, she appreciates the moments she gets to share with him, and he took the initiative to come visit her to celebrate the day.
“He is coming to visit the youngest granddaughter, and there are 10 of us,” Rusco said. “He is always up for a social event!”
Traditionally National Grandparents Day falls each year on the first Sunday after Labor Day, but the University chose to celebrate it today.
According to legacy-project.org, an organization which provides the history for the day, there are three purposes for the day: “To honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children and to help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.”
Elijah Weaver, freshman history major, has grown up having a close relationship with his grandparents on both sides of his family and wants them to come to the event.
“They are really rooted in their community, they’re the type that would absolutely love to come, it just depends on their availability,” Weaver said.
Weaver believes taking the time to celebrate grandparents is “underrated” in American society.
“They play a larger role than what they are given credit for, especially for people that are lucky enough to have good relationships with their grandparents,” Weaver said.
He also said he has been lucky to have strong relationships with his grandparents, but the biggest thing that he recognized is the long-term impact they’ve had in his life.
“My granddad on my mom’s side was a real role model for me, I was told that we look a lot alike. He always dressed nice, was successful and I always looked up to him since I was a toddler,” Weaver said.
Weaver said although some people may have a hard time with the generation gap, he didn’t find that problem. “They are the type that I can talk to just as easily as my brother or even my actual parents.”
Weaver began to observe how his relationship changed throughout the years and his interactions with his grandparents were no longer mandatory but rather more meaningful.
“I really started to realize how much they really gave to me once it wasn’t just, ‘oh I’m going to Mimi and pa-pa’s house I’m going to eat candy and watch TV,’ and it was more that they started to invest a lot of time into my life.”
Weaver said, “I would say that there is not a strong enough emphasis on family in of itself. The two biggest things that you have in your life is your relationship with Christ and the greatest gift He gives you is your family.”
Rusco highlighted the importance of listening to others’ stories, especially when they have wisdom from the past.
“Even though you may not have that relationship in your family, look for that type of relationship anywhere, whether it is in your church or wherever, take the time to get to know people,” Rusco said.