In the “old” days…families lived in close proximity to one another, it was important to the strength of the family. Either several generations lived in the same homestead together or at the very least…lived in the “neighborhood”; close enough to see and communicate with one another on a daily basis. Parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles and cousins all grew up together…teaching each other, learning from one another and helping to guide and direct each generation with their own brand of family values; to their place of prominence when it was time. This type of family bonding has been broken for a long time…going back to the years of the great depression; leaving quite an impact on the way families were structured. It wasn’t willful or voluntary…it was necessary.
When families had to seek jobs and living conditions that allowed them to survive; they were often seperated from one another. In those days and before…when family had to become distanced from one another they kept in contact by writing letters, journals or diaries; or in cases of emergency, they sent a telegram. Phones became the next form of communication and true to form; technology is leading the edge of communication in today’s relationships. Cell phones, email, computers with instant chat, faxes combined with air travel, train, busses and boats are our links to one another. Many families just don’t have the advantage of living as close to one another as they would like to be physically present in each other’s daily lives. Because families don’t get lots of time together…alot of our conversations are spent on surface things…or skimming the surface of what’s happening with one another.
It doesn’t go without notice that many people are surrounded by lots of people but are lonelier than they have ever felt. Family support, often is non-existant; or ,not consistent enough to give children a foundation upon which to build their own families when the time comes. Divorce has played a part…but, we all crave closeness and support in spite of such adversities.
That is why i have been interested to hear about those who are finding ways of reaching out to their family and friends in ways that will cement their relationships, in no uncertain terms. Last winter, i took a course on documenting memories or experiences in a written form; so that future generations can have a window into how we each thought, felt, or acted in any given circumstance. The instructor just happened to be my former kindergarten teacher who i was reconnecting with some 30 odd years later :). She impressed upon us all the value of passing on memories and experiences to those that we cherished in our lives.
This week i heard about a celebrity who was doing something similar, in his own way. Sidney Poitier has written a book for his great granddaughter. He decided to write down things of importance for him to share with his granddaughter. He is in his 80’s and his great granddaughter is now somewhere around 2 or 3 years of age. He talks of how he was moved to put into written word, things that had relevance for him to communicate to his family member when he was standing in the room with four generations of his family after her birth.
Why do we wait until some monumentual moment in our lives to make these decisions; we all have value to share with one another. It is a form of sharing and caring to be able to “talk” about issues that are near and dear to our hearts with those that we love. It is our legacy to each other. When we are gone…everything we think and feel goes with us; unless we have taken action to preserve such things. Who do you wish to connect with; and what is it that you wish to tell them? Don’t waste another moment…make the time…it doesn’t have to be a novel…don’t worry about grammar or form…just write it down…you will be glad that you did. The words you leave behind may just help to influence the next generation when all of the “other” voices they hear may not have their best interest at heart like you do!