Opening Words from Sun. August 21 by Nancy Borders-Wing

My name is Nancy Borders-Wing, I’m the Wing in case you were wondering. My pronouns are she/her. And my husband Don and I have been members for 32 years.

How many remember the musical “Bye, Bye, Birdie” and the song “Kids”? In the song, Paul Lynde asks the question: “Why can’t they be like we were, Perfect in every way?”

Allow me to tell you what happened last month.

I took my grandson Samuel Borders on a 5-day Grandparent-Grandchild Road Scholar trip to Yellowstone National Park. I had taken his older brother Ben on a similar trip to Northern AZ and the Grand Canyon. I would highly recommend these trips.

We joined 10 other grandparent/grandchild families. All the grandchildren were put into at least two unfamiliar and a bit risky situations.

We learned about grizzly bears and the grandkids hid some apples and carrots for the bears to find. We were educated on how wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone. We took a hike between the Upper and Lower falls in Yellowstone. It started to rain, and we were hit with pea-size hail. But we soldiered on. One grandfather at least 7 years older than me took it upon himself to help another grandmother, Sue, navigate the path, due to the slippery conditions. Lewis would walk his granddaughter to a stopping point then walk back to help Sue. He did it several times. I told Lewis he was a real trooper helping out Sue. He simply said, “it’s what needed to be done.” We went horseback riding where most had never touched a horse let alone ridden one, and we went kayaking in the highest by elevation fresh water lake in North America. Again, another first for most. I give all the participants a lot of credit. No one said “No, I’m not going to do that.” They took on the challenge, and to be honest, many had various levels of success.

While Samuel and I were kayaking we were in a great paddling sequence, both going to our destination on a far shore for a picnic and returning. Samuel needed very little help in paddling our double kayak. He was very willing to “pull his own weight” into paddling.

He, being in front, would call out directions left or right or straight ahead making it easy to progress forward. That just came natural to him. We were having great success and I figured Samuel wanted to be the first one back to shore.

But what he really wanted was to get back to shore in order to help others bring their kayaks ashore.

The water was about 48 degrees and Samuel would first help drag their kayaks up on shore to secure it. Once secure, he then got into that cold water to push it farther up onto shore and/or secure the rudder. He did that continuously until the coldness got to him.

He came ashore, caught his breath and went right back to get more fellow Road Scholars up onto shore. Again, no one asked him to do it, he just wanted to help. Like Lewis, at least 65+years his senior, Samuel saw a need and took it upon himself to help

As a child growing up with the 50 and 60s, I can often shake my head with Samuel’s generation of video games. “Grandma jump! Get that coin!” They’d say. And I say, “I am, but Mario isn’t jumping.”

I’m far from perfect playing video games

But I know Samuel also enjoys helping others, and that makes me proud and happy that the future will be brighter with kids like Samuel.

NOTE: The ideas and opinions in this post do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.