Monday, February 6, 2012

Stubborn isn't such a bad thing...

Most people consider the word “stubborn” to be a negative one, but I have always considered stubborn to be an admirable if not infuriating trait.  It is a word that describes my mother, both of my grandmothers and even my great grandmothers.  These women faced challenges and rather than be cowed by the obstacle, they rose to meet them.

My grandmother, Marian Gage Johnson, could have been described by anyone as being strong-willed and capable.  As a young woman growing up during the depression, she worked away from her family to help support them during the depression.  Her choice wasn’t to cry for pity but to do something about her situation.  I would define “stubborn” as someone who makes the best out of their circumstances without being defeated by them.  As a young wife, she worked just as hard as her husband to make the best life for their family.  During her childhood, she learned out to make bread, cook meals, make clothes, can and preserve meat and vegetables.  She used those skills to make sure her family had the best she could provide.  After her oldest children left home, she worked as cook to help supplement the family income.  When Grandma Marian and Grandpa Frank moved to Oregon and started a new life…she took jobs working in a chicken plant and later a tool factory…especially when her husband’s health prevented him from working.  No matter what the challenge…Grandma Marian didn’t back down.

Of course, there were times when that stubbornness and drive to improve her situation could be a bit of a problem.  My father recalls his mother wanting to enclose the porch of their house to add on to the kitchen.  It was a great idea, but the wall she wanted to remove was a load bearing wall.  One day, my father and his Dad arrived home to find that Grandma Marian had taken the wall down.  Both hurriedly put supporting posts up to support the house.  All her children and grandchildren can remember Grandma’s penchant for trying to organize things.  I can remember going to Canby to visit and Grandma was determined that despite the distance, her family would continue to know each other.  So, every visit to the Portland area involved visits to several family members.
After she moved to Lewiston about 10 years ago, Grandma Marian embraced the new life near her three older children and nearby siblings.  Despite the fact that her joints made moving about painful, she occupied her time with numerous activities.  These activities included scanning pictures, emailing friends and family, doing jigsaw puzzles and enjoying her TV.  Grandma Marian continued all her life to learn new things and make new friends. 
When I see someone who continues to learn new things, make their life and those around them better, and try to improve their life not matter what the challenges and do it with a spirited attitude rather than complaining about their circumstance – I call that stubborn.  No matter what comes their way – these type of people refuse to let “it” defeat them.  There are lot of stubborn qualities that I admire, so, you might say that I strive to try to be “stubborn!”