What is heritage?
More importantly, what is your family heritage and what do you want it to be?
The dictionary defines heritage as "anything that has been transmitted from the past or handed down by tradition."
I like to think of family heritage as a composite of stories and memories of events and relationships in the past and present that you want preserved for the future.
But not really.
Think of it this way - what does your family represent and what values do you hold dear? What have you learned from your grandparents or through family history stories that you also want your own children to learn?
recently fell in love with a storybook called, "What it means to be a
Nelson," and look forward to altering the template to make one for my own family!
Understanding - defining and then sharing - your family heritage is vitally important.
"We are who we are because they were who they were!"
When we are clear about where we have been, we can become certain of where we are going. The defining elements of our lives tell us (and our children) who we are and how we should live.
Extended family used to live close to one another – it used to be
easier to share stories and pass on traditions. These days, however, many of our most treasured family traditions are fading.
Today families live farther apart from one another and are under budget
and time constraints that don’t allow frequent visits.
Often, the family reunion is the only time that we have to interact with generations old and young at the same time. Take advantage of this opportunity to preserve your heritage!
With modern technology, there are SO many creative and fun ways to display, document and share your family heritage through strategic family reunion planning.
Consider these -
This one (personalized, of course!) would also make a meaningful gift or wonderful reunion keepsake-
As human beings, we are all subject to the influences and opinions of what surrounds us. And if we are not surrounded by our own family values and culture, other forces will decide our identity and define our principles. When we do not guide our own family heritage, it becomes lost to society.
Author Stephen Covey states it best: "Ultimately, we must decide either
to steer or to go where the river takes us. The key to successful
steering is to be intentional about our family rituals." (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, p. 137)
We must consciously build the traditions and consider the values of our families. We must purposely add meaning to and make memories for life… or it will be done for us.