|My grandmother, who|
struggled to provide for her family.
|My great-great-grandparents, |
who began a new life in the Civil War.
Both of my parents are gone now, and my 94-year-old aunt (the keeper of the family's history) just died this last week. But I had the good sense to ask her several years ago to write down for me what she remembered about her father (my Grandfather died when I was two and I have no memory of him beyond pictures of him holding me.) So I now have a permanent record of what kind of man he was; his principles and the high esteem in which others regarded him.
My point in recounting all this? I have a standard to live by because I was raised on the courage and the moral values of my ancestors. I cherish the times I spent with my grandmother. I learned valuable lessons in cross-stitching and knitting. (I can't tell you how many times she patiently had me rip out stitches that didn't meet her quality inspection). She taught me how to properly make a bed, with crisp, tucked-in corners; and my home-made cinnamon rolls still don't rate as high as hers. She passed those reliable guidelines on to my mother, who emphasized them in my childhood. It will be these "lessons of life" they taught me that will sustain me for what lies ahead.
Perhaps my most valuable possession is the family Bible, which dates back to 1814. In it are recorded the births, marriages and deaths of the long line of people that leads to me. It is a reminder that it is not all about me.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I wanted to learn everything I could from those who came before me. I wanted to learn from their experiences. I wanted to feel that I could be as brave and determined as they were, in the face of adverse circumstances. And I have a feeling that, very soon, I'm going to have the opportunity to prove myself worthy of their legacies.
But my real concern is for our children. They don't seem to care about knowing where they came from; instead, they are willing to follow whatever the latest celebrity or media guru tells them they should feel, think or say. If you asked them to tell you what they've learned from their parents or grandparents, could they tell you? Have we handed over the responsibility of forming our children's identity to some nameless entity that knows better than we do? And most importantly, do they know that it is not all about them? That the rewards of this life come from working hard, helping others, and giving glory to our God?
Psalm 86:16 "Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did."