Our children are fortunate. They have a life of material comforts. They need to know about another kind of plenty: the storehouses of fortitude, determination and boundless faith carved into their own DNA, forged from ancestors' toils. There are stories to be told, the perennials to be generated over and over.
(Photo used today are from free stock images)
Stories I Want My Grandchildren to Know:
- Their great-great grandparents came to America for a better life for their children and their children’s children.
- They arrived tired, dirty, poor, uneducated but ready to work the land.
- They brought strange foods like spaghetti and pizza and a faith that endured many hardships.
- The US government needed farmers. For $500, my grandparents could purchase acres of land with the agreement that they would farm the land and pay the taxes.
- When their children were old enough, they found work. The money earned was given to the parents for home improvements and farm equipment.
- The depression of the 1930s was hard for all, but our farmer-ancestors always had food from the land and shared what they grew with other needy families.
- There was no insurance. If a house burned it was a total loss and families started all over.
- The old homestead caught fire! The neighbors came to help douse the fire. They pitched in to help rebuild and do the farm chores.
- After the WWII, their great-grandfather returned to civilian life in a country reeling from the human and economic costs of the war. With little money in his pocket, he married my mother and they lived in government housing known as GI homes. My brother and I lived there too. I remember them as small shacks where veterans could get a head-start in providing for their families. It was the start they needed.
- Our ancestors were not perfect but they did the best they could with what they had.
- We are stronger than we know; we can endure the rocks in the road ahead.
Family stories can be told nearly anywhere. They cost us only our time, our memories, our creativity. They can inspire us, protect us, and bind us to others. So be generous with your stories, and be generous in your stories. Remember that your children may have them for a lifetime. -----Elaine Reese
Telling our family stories can lead to self-discovery and a broader sense of connection and healing. ------Mary Beth Sammons
When we share our stories, it opens up our hearts for other people to share their stories. And it gives us the sense that we are not alone on this journey. ------ Janine Shepherd
And sometimes the best memories were nonverbal: My favorite memory that spoke volumes was the silent smile creases extending from the corners of my grandpop's eyes. A farmer's work was never done: up before dawn and coming in late for the night's supper. But whenever I called out, "Hey Grandpop!", I would watch his eyes disappear into lengthening wrinkles and I knew those creases were for me. What are your favorite memores? ------ G. Hill
You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. ------ Deuteronomy 11:19
More on this theme of family: Sandcastles: building lives together and Sunflower Seeds: Lessons we teach each other.