A few years ago, I discovered that my great grandfather had lived till I was in my teens. I never met him because of a rift between him and my grandfather. It took me a while to forgive my grandfather (who had already passed away) for letting their personal differences keep me from getting to know one of my ancestors.
But today, I honor my grandfather, Joseph Moroni Roundy, Jr. One day, when my father was still young, my grandfather was acting out the pattern he'd learned from his father. My grandmother asked him, "do you want your children to feel the same way about you as you feel about your father?"
My grandfather took that question to heart, and broke the cycle. It didn't heal the rift between him and his father, but it enabled his descendants to have a good relationship with him.
I remember my grandfather as the candy man. He distributed candy and other small items to stores all around Cache Valley, Utah. And naturally, he distributed a bunch to us, too, whenever we visited.
I also remember learning to water ski behind his motor boat.
Both of my grandfathers died before my children were born, but my eldest son met both of his great grandmothers, and my daughter was able to meet one of them. I honor my grandfather for breaking a pattern that might have prevented that.
The best way to honor our ancestors is to emulate their good example. For me, that means to look for and break any destructive patterns in my life, whether in relationships, personal behavior, business, or any other part of my life, so that my life and the lives of my family members can be as good as my grandfather would have wanted them to be.
Never forget that the examples you've learned from are not all worth following. The habits you've established are not all worth keeping. The fears that you avoid are not all well founded. The possibilities for your life are larger than the path you've followed in the past.
Slow down periodically and take some time to look around you. Challenge your assumptions. and choose a better path. And remember to look to the example of the warriors of life who've set a good example for you to find their lessons that you still need to learn.
Have a great Memorial Day.