Pass It On

871. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

The locus of my family has shifted from my generation to my nieces and nephews. They are now having children of their own and I delight in watching them assume the role of parents. They are the generation of becoming and are hungry to learn the family narrative. My brothers, sister and I are the story-bridge generation. We are now grandparents and grand uncles. We are the channel between the elders, my parents, and the youth.

As the channel I am more acutely aware that not all stories are created equal. There are the day-to-day stories. These pass through. Then there are stories that belong in the cabinet of curiosity. These are life event stories like the day my sister brought her future husband home to meet the family. We tortured poor J.T. on that first meeting and he laughs heartily at the retelling. The story is legend in my clan. The subject for debate is whether or not my dad carried a shotgun on that first meeting (he doesn’t own a gun and never has but he’s also remarkably resourceful when an opportunity for mischief presents itself)? I know the answer but won’t tell (I was there and wore a Little-Bo-Peep costume). I like the debate and the gales of laughter that it brings my sister’s children.

And then there are the campfire stories, the narratives that define us. These are foundational identity stories. Every family has them though in our modern era it is common for a family to not recognize them. These are the root stories and from these stories the family vine grows. The answers to the three great questions (who am I, where do I belong, what is mine to do) are blossoms of these tales. No one truly knows who he or she is separate from his or her foundation narrative. Vines cannot grow without a root. People cannot grow without a meaningful connection to their root story.

Stories form layers of personal and family identity. Stories serve as both root and nutrient. The next time my clan gathers in such numbers I will be the elder, my nieces and nephews will be the channel to their children who will have become parents. And the cycle continues. We recreate ourselves in the telling. We nurture the soil in the sharing. We make visible the web of our connection. Stories are so much more than recounting the past. Stories are how we re-member ourselves, affirm our belonging, and reach from the past through this day into the distant future.

2 Responses

  1. It is heart-warming to hear how you are re-weaving into your family. I feel the richness.

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