My great great grandfather came to the United States from Denmark. He was a wealthy dairyman who sold his possessions to emigrate. The story is told of his generosity in helping others come to this country who couldn't afford the passage.
My great grandmother married and settled in a small town in rural Idaho. She became a midwife and helped mothers all over the county give birth.
My grandmother was widowed at a young age. She found employment as a social worker even before such government agencies became well established.
My mother was also widowed when I was a small child. She went back to school, earned a PhD, and taught at a university, helping many of her students find a better life and launch their own careers.
After our children were all in school, I became licensed as Marriage and Family Therapist, establishing a large practice in Las Vegas. I worked with families of all shapes and sizes.
Each of our children has followed a different career path: a math teacher, a baker, a kindergarten teacher, a librarian, a salesman, and an artist.
But all their paths contain the gift of service to others. This way was firmly established for all of us by our great great grandfather, and has come down through the ages as a mantra for all of us because of our family stories.
What are your family stories?
Talk about the strengths, the struggles, and the triumphs you and your family have experienced. Stories are your path to wholeness. If you see your stories as tales of failure, look more closely and find the courage and hidden valor of your ancestors. They are there.
Happy story telling!
Here's a link to the entire New York Times article.