Oh, look! A photo of you at three, all dressed up as a wedding attendant. Whose wedding was it? Wasn’t it cousin somebody’s wedding? Who are all the people in photo?
Every family needs an historian. If you are lucky enough to still have your grandparents, when was the last time you went through old photos, listened to family stories, or finally wrote down a family recipe? Can your children name their great grandparents?
Anthropologists believe Grandmothers were traditionally the main transmitters of culture and history. Grandfathers, if they survived the rigors of hunting and warfare, spent their days out hunting with the rest of the men. Mothers were out gathering food, working the fields, or doing other chores. Grandmas were the ones at home by the fire with the little ones – telling stories, teaching language, songs and religion- the elements of culture.
In a modern family, who teaches the children about their family and culture? Family history gives us a sense of belonging. For many of us, our childhood memories include many family dinners filled with traditional foods, family stories and laughter. How many Grandmas (or Grandpas) can still recite stories their grandparents, great-aunts and uncles told at every opportunity? Have you ever told them to your children and grandchildren? There might not have been things like adt home security systems then, but a close knit family used to look out for each other.
Family stories can give us some much-needed perspective to our lives today. When headlines and newscasters announce the “worst” economy in history, it might help your family to understand how your grandparents survived the Great Depression. You come from strong ancestors who overcame wars, plagues, and famines. We are stronger than we know.