As we touch the lives of many others, so too do many others touch our lives. Intergenerational communication and wisdom, help us grow and learn without the necessity of experiencing every event, especially the painful ones, ourselves. Stories provide us with entertainment and with wisdom.
“However, you are not alone. Generations of women in your family have chosen. Women around the world have chosen. We all have chosen at one time in our lives. We stand behind you now screaming:
Choose to let go.
Choose to forgive yourself.
Choose to forgive others.
Choose to see your value.
Choose to show the world you’re not a victim.
Choose to make us proud.”
~ Shannon L. Alder
I grew up in an old-fashioned home. Old-fashioned, and poor. I also grew up with “old” people, in years, if not in spirit. My grandmother lived with us the last 8 years of her life, and the first 8 of mine. In fact, we shared a bedroom during our time together. In addition to making special treats for her favorite grandchild, me :), while sharing family recipes, she shared her life stories. Her father was a freed slave, so she could tell me true stories about the resilience of people, and what it takes to stay alive and stick to your beliefs.
Another woman, my fourth grade teacher, struck a spark within me when she made me see that I was smarter than I was trying to let on. And, in letting my light shine more brightly, become who I was meant to be.
Yet, another woman, my pastor’s wife, spent long hours with me in conversation, usually over a glass of lemonade. We talked openly and honestly about faith, church life, the politics in church (and life), and how to get through it with integrity, grace, mercy and faith.
My mother, of course was the foundational rock beneath all these other women I learned from.
I now have daughters and granddaughters of my own with whom I can share all of the above knowledge, sprinkled with my life experiences, my innate and acquired wisdom, and all the other things that make me who I am. I can share stories about real life throughout the last 200-plus years. I can talk about trips South to spend time with our greater extended family. Stories about seeing a mule up-close for the first time, running around the woods, and catching tadpoles with my new cousins. I can talk about my grandmother’s biscuits which were too sweet for anyone else to eat. I can share stories about helping make sweet potato pies with my aunt, and being rewarded with tiny sweet potato turnovers from the remains. I can share what I have learned through all my years of education, work and dealing with people. I can share all that I continue to learn from and with them.
Standing in the Gap
“Human beings have always been an unfinished species, a story in the middle, a succession of families, tribes, and societies in transition to new awarenesses. Although we have always prided ourselves on our willingness to adapt to all habitats, and on our skill at prospering and making ourselves comfortable wherever we are — in a meadow, in a desert, on the tundra, or out on the ocean — we don’t just adapt to places, or modify them in order to ease our burdens. We’re the only species that over and over again has deliberately transformed our surroundings in order to stretch our capacity for understanding and provoke new accomplishments. And our growing and enhanced understanding is our most valuable, and our most vulnerable, inheritance.”
~ Anthony Hiss
As I said over on the group blog, we are each of us always standing in-between. In between past generations and future generations. Our children, and everyone else learn a great deal from what we say, but even more from what they see us do. It is a huge responsibility helping the next generation evolve into their best selves and fly away from the nest. A responsibility we should all take very seriously. And, our responsibilities are not only to those who are family by blood, but, also to those whom we invite into our lives to form new families and communities.
Never stop learning.
Never stop sharing your story and your life.
Someone is always learning from you.