Guardian angels at work Peter Folan
“Grandparents are like wisdom of the family: They are wisdom of a people.”
~ Pope Francis
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t was an early August morning and the sun had only begun to peek through the foggy Cape Cod morning; it would take a few hours to melt the morning dew sprinkled across the yard. The glittering spiderwebs that danced on the tips of the disheveled lawn would soon disappear in the heat of the day. The morning would rise shortly as would the day, sending my grandfather, whom we called Puppy, back home for another week and me off to my summer routine. Snuggled next to him, we reminisced about his childhood and recounted tales from our family lore. During those early summer mornings, my grandfather and I also explored questions about God, Jesus, and miracles. He told me that everyone has a guardian angel to help them see God’s work in their daily lives. At 10, I searched everywhere but could not see mine or understand. I adored Puppy, and we shared a world filled with laughter, stories, hugs, and smiles. Puppy’s subsequent death the next morning in his own bed a little over 100 miles away shook my very foundation and core beliefs. My relationship with my grandfather provided me with confidence and encouragement to use my imagination, to embrace reading, to run with the pack while also daring to lead. It also provided me with the courage to play sports without being consumed by them or the fanaticism that corrodes them. His love and patience gave me the strength to buck trends, to question authority, to love wildflowers and songbirds, and most importantly to be me. This model of caring inspired and encouraged me as a boy to imagine a world filled with limitless possibilities. In my work with high school and college-aged students, I try to engage young men with the same patience that Puppy showed me. I hope that through our conversations these men can begin to examine their lives and rekindle aspects of themselves that they have neglected. All men need authentic relationships through which they can examine and talk about their lives, and within these relationships a reciprocity develops that allows each person to gain new insight. I know that I have learned much about myself from the countless students that I have talked with
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