When I picked up my middle school aged daughter from school, she hopped in the car excitedly gushing about a homework assignment that she was thoroughly stoked about.
Her family tree.
I have to be honest and tell you that the idea of plotting out my family tree gives me the hives. Multiple divorces and remarriages make it more than just a little complicated. The idea of my daughter losing just a little of her innocence to what I call “the family kudzu” doesn’t make it any easier.
This was the first time however that I realized I didn’t have my grandmother to go to for help with the names I didn’t know. There were still plenty of family historians around to gather the information from, but I became aware for the first time, that I was one generation away from losing valuable information for my kids. There wasn’t really anyone in my generation who had stepped up to become the next historian, and I am officially middle aged. (I could not remember my great grandfather’s name) The history of how my daughter became who she is, was in danger of slipping away.
Yes. I am learning that the beginnings of our personalities and quirks, are conceived long before our bodies are. Counseling has taught me this.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
I remember sitting at the feet of my great aunt Flora as she told me the best stories about growing up with her 10 siblings in the 1920’s and 1930’s. My own grandmother was the baby of the girls. My children do not have that. There are great aunts and uncles, but no one like my Aunt Flora still exists. She was a pro at story telling. It was, in fact, her job back when she was young. She spent her best years as a child evangelist. She never married.
It’s from these stories that I get glimpses of how I became who I am. How the history of everyone in my family line, leaves marks on my personality. Some for good. Some for….let’s just say some of those marks give us some challenges in our lives.
If you’re anything like me, I’m willing to bet you have some of those marks that leave you with challenges. They are frustrating aren’t they? They make it easy to shift blame. We tend to use them to excuse our behavior sometimes. “I was born that way” is a mantra of our generation, but that suggests that we can’t overcome the challenges that can sometimes be deeply ingrained in us. It suggests we can’t be healed.Why understanding the impact of family history on our day to day lives is important. Click To Tweet
You and me?….We were fearfully and wonderfully made. Made with great respect and forethought. When we dig into our past in order to understand ourselves better, we can become more aware of our more self centered tendencies. It gives us a chance to look at our world with more humility, and with a greater love. It gives us more compassion and a greater understanding for the people we share our lives with as well.
Understanding our past can make us better.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!