The Good Grandma

Posted on November 29, 2016 By

by Bill Samuel, President, Consistent Life Network


This Thanksgiving, a story about a Mesa, Arizona, grandmother named Wanda Dench went viral on the Internet. Wanda had texted family members about coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. One grandson had changed his number, which was now owned by 17 year old Jamal Hinton of nearby Phoenix.

When Jamal received the text, he didn’t know who it was from. When he texted back, Wanda said she was his grandma. They then exchanged photos, verifying that the text was not sent to the intended recipient. But Jamal then asked, in jest, if he could still get some dinner. Wanda replied, “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do…feed everyone!” Jamal had dinner with Wanda and her family, and everyone had a good time.


A grandson of Wanda’s said he was not surprised by her invitation to Jamal, because they always had an open door policy. To me, Wanda symbolizes the Good Grandma. The Good Grandma welcomes the variety that comes with families, and the loved ones and friends of later generations. The Good Grandma isn’t concerned about the color of their skin, their background, their politics, their nationality, their religion or lack of it, the way they dress, or any of these things. She values each person and welcomes them all. And if there’s a surprise guest; well, there’s always room for one more. Her heart won’t allow her to turn anyone away.

 I’m a pretty simple person. Sometimes more sophisticated CLN Board members lose me when they’re explaining their values in sophisticated philosophical language. To me, the things we’re against are natural byproducts of a simple understanding that all human beings are connected. In some sense, we are all family, whether we recognize it or not. So I want the best for all of my brothers and sisters. And certainly it is unthinkable to kill any of them. 

It reminds me of a conversation I had decades ago with five-year-old Maria, whose mother I was dating. She asked me if they were killing little children over there in Vietnam. I had to admit to her that they were. “That means they can come over here and kill little kids like me, doesn’t it?” was her response. Her question helped move my commitment to peace from my head to my heart. I realized in my gut that a child on the other side of the world was just as precious as the one I knew and loved who was sitting beside me.

The consistent life ethic isn’t hard to understand. It’s as simple as a good grandma and recognizing that we are all family.


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