The Fork in the Road and the Road Less Traveled By; Remembering and Honoring Our HeritageWritten by Valerie Elkins
Having a heritage to pass on to the next generation is a priceless gift and a tremendous responsibility.
"There is no better heritage than a good name that a [parent] can bequeath to [their] children.
Nor is there in a family any richer heirloom than that of a noble ancestor.
We are the guardians of the treasures of the past, with the high duty to preserve them
and pass them on the generations yet future." - Jessie H. Lindsey
When we have a dysfunctional ancestor or two, this may pose some serious questions. Every family has their share of heroes and scallywags, but I think David Seamands answers it best when he stated,
"We cannot change our memories,
but we can change
their meaning and the power
they have over us."
We can choose how we view, share and wish to remember those scoundrels. Ancestors choices in the past, give us a wonderful 20/20 view of the consequences and repercussions that have followed them. This then allows us and our posterity to learn and choose differently. If you can't serve as a good example - than you will serve as a horrible warning can be our mantra.
It's not hard to share the stories, exploits and deeds of the heroes in our family history. That's the fun and easy part as we all want to brag about those noble ancestors. But in doing so, we don't want to paint a too perfect picture of our forefathers. For one, it isn't real and two; we lose the opportunity to allow their stories to have real power in our families' lives. Remember, the struggle is part of the story.
Christina Baldwin said, "Words are how we think, stories are how we link." By sharing our family's stories, the good and the bad, we are able to link choices with consequences without our children having to experience the lessons the hard way.
Everyone, our ancestors, us - we all have those forks in the road; those pivotal moments where fate hangs in the balance. Arming our families with the knowledge and wisdom of our heritage can help at that important juncture, so that we may then be able to echo the immortal words of Robert Frost:
"Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Describe the memories that immediately come to mind about: Mom/Dad/Sister/Brother/Grandma/Grandpa. What are some of the tough choices they had to make? (For more ideas, check out our When I was Little story starter)
Vlaerie is the CEO and founder of Advantage Genealogy and serves on the Board of Directors for both Story @ Home and for the Utah Genealogical Association. She utilizes her experience to blend research and technology with the art of storytelling, to help make the past come alive. Valerie believes that every family has an amazing family history full of stories of love and loss, guts and glory, victory and deafeat... along with a few skeletons in the closet. Finding those stories and learning to dance with them is her passion. Valerie is a Pinterest "pinja" and a blogger at Family Cherished. You can find Valerie on Twitter @elkinsvalerie.
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