My grandfather, David Rockefeller, died on the morning of March 20, 2017. He would have turned 102 this year.
He was the man who had a greater tangible impact on the world than perhaps anyone else I know. And at the end of the day, he was also just my Grandpa, the father of my mother, the husband of my Granny, and a friend to countless people who loved him. The historical side of my grandfather’s story has been told in many different forms. This is my way of honoring him, by sharing some of the lessons I have learned from the example of his life and death.
1. Relationships matter most - My grandfather was a toastmaster par-excellence. At almost every meal, whether an intimate family gathering or a formal dinner with presidents or prime ministers, he would delicately tap his wine glass and make a toast: the details varied, but the theme was always deep appreciation for the people present.
2. Appreciate ordinary pleasures — and don’t worry about hyperbole - At one of his last meals, Grandpa seemed like he had never tasted food before.
3. Respect people, not positions - My grandfather was one of the most universally respectful people I have known.
4. Care for yourself and kindness follows naturally - My grandfather was a deeply kind man. His instinct was to find something to appreciate in any situation, and I rarely heard him speak an unkind word to any person.
5. Generosity begets joy - From large-scale philanthropy — he gave away nearly $2 billion over the course of his lifetime, with an extraordinary impact on New York City, the United States, and the world as a whole — to his concern for the individuals in his life, Grandpa cared enormously about the people and world around him.
6. There is value in tradition… - Grandpa was a creature of habit.
7. …and also in flexibility - The downside of Grandpa’s penchant for consistency was his difficulty accepting changes or deviations from decorum.
8. Just let go - Whereas letting go in death is a kind of exit, letting go in life is a powerful entry into the present moment, through the portal of total acceptance — of what has come, and gone, and is.
Read the full article about helpful life lessons by Adam Growald at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.