Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rethinking the Past

There is a craving deep inside each of us to understand where we came from. If we know the story of our heritage, our roots, then recognizing our own place in the world will be a little easier. Just as Telemachus sought out the truth about his father, so do today’s adolescents long to know the story of their families. Too many families in our day and age have no real connection to their pasts. Moving from city to city, state to state, and even country to country, more students are feeling the sense of being disconnected with their traditions and heritage.

A few years ago, I assigned my students a family history project. I was amazed at how motivated these adolescents were when it came to studying the story of their families. There were some who managed to reconstruct their own family history, based on conversations with older relatives. This is an superb way to connect the vigor of the young with the wisdom and experience of the elderly!

Students sat and listened to the stories of their grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles. This helped many of the students to see themselves as a part of a continuum, an important piece of something much larger than themselves. The students were further instructed that they were to design their own family crest, a medieval shield bearing symbols, colors, or pictures of positive character traits that were important to their family. This was something concrete that they could take with them as a reminder of where they came from and the solid traditions that were a crucial part of their heritage. Even in the most dysfunctional families, we were able to draw out that which was good and worth passing on.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

We have read posts related to genealogy on your blog and have just launched family based social network- Kincafe. We would like you to particpate in beta release of Kincafe and provide feedback to us at andy@kincafe.com

Thanks
Andy

11:53 PM  

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