This month we celebrated Mother’s Day, we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend, next month we celebrate Father’s Day and the theme of this month is family. That’s a lot of family! So often we think about family as our parents, siblings, partner and children, and maybe we add in grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins too. But we often forget that there’s lots of family that came before that, even if we don’t know who they are because we’re adopted and can’t trace our history through ancestry.com or another site. In many ways technology has encouraged us to be more personal and relational and get to know each other better but in others it’s allowed us to be less personal, almost anonymous. I shared about social media on Wednesday on the Business and Family blog, and one thing I shared about was that it’s a social network, a place where people connect with other people. I believe that one of the worst things that can happen in the world is that we forget that we’re surrounded by other people, not by computers, robots, or emotionless beings, but by humans that, like us, have feelings, dreams, desires, goals and value.
Today though I want to talk about the people who came before. I was blessed to grow up hearing stories about the relatives who passed on before I was born, and I’ve built friendships with some awesome senior citizens and get to hear their stories now too. I love a good story, whether we’re talking a romance or the real life of a historical American General’s wife, because it reminds me that each of us have a story, more than the facts that can be presented about our lives, like our birth and death dates, the battles we fought or jobs we conquered, people we married and divorced, and other information that can be put into an impersonal list. None of us got here without two someones coming before us, even now with the advances of modern medicine that’s still a requirement. Just like you and I have our own stories, so do they.
So this weekend my challenge to you is two fold: first, when you’re at the family party this weekend celebrating Memorial Day, talk with your family about the relatives who are part of your history and have come before you. Second, find out the story of a soldier, either someone in your family, your town, or contact your local VA or historical society and learn about the men and women who have fought for the country.
“It’s very strange that most people don’t care if their knowledge of their family history only goes back three generations.” Douglas Coupland