One of our young grandsons recently asked me how old I’ll be when he’s a teenager. The truth is, I’ll be about the age that my grandmother was when she entered eternity. Of course, I didn’t tell him that. I think I said something like, “old.”
But his question made me think, How pmany years do I have left on Earth, and how does God want me to use them? The result? I’ve renewed my vow to get the countless scrapbooks in order and write down even more of our family’s stories.
Stories are so important! You might even think of it this way: They shape history.
A couple of years ago my husband, Jim, and I had the privilege of hearing Holocaust survivor Agi Geva speak about her experiences in the concentration camps during World War II. It was amazing to hear her tell how she and her sister managed to stay with their mother throughout the whole ordeal.
I will never forget seeing Agi roll up her sleeve to display a stamped number on her arm. Her message to the audience: “Never forget.”
Like Agi, you and I have experienced events in life that our children and grandchildren will only read about. For me, Vietnam, 911, and Hurricane Katrina are not just words in a book. Nor are the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.
As a teenager, I visited a friend whose brother was killed in Vietnam. Years later I watched on TV when the twin towers fell and even interviewed one of the survivors, Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell. And in September 2005 I went to Louisiana as a volunteer with my church to help feed the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Until I heard Agi speak, I never really thought much about the history that I’ve experienced. To me, it’s so … “usual.” But after I heard her speak, I was reminded of the responsibility and privilege of sharing my walk through life with my legacy. And I was challenged to write down some of Jim’s and my life lessons for our grandkids.
“History never looks like history,” John W. Gardner said, “when you are living through it.”
How are you helping your children and grandchildren remember your family history? What stories are you passing on to generations who you will never see?