Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Values Are You Passing on to Your Children?

A couple of years ago I read an article in the New York Times called Stories That Bind Us by Bruce Feiler. Strong families have a strong narrative. Did your parents and grandparents tell you their stories? What are your family tales of struggle, success, and fun? Do you share them with your children? We can find our way along the path of life if we know what's happened on the road in the past.

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.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Roses, an Expression of Love

Roses, a Connection to the Past, an Expression of Love, and a Conduit to the Future.

Springtime always reminds me of my grandmother. I can see her pruning and spading the rose garden. She loved to plant little annuals to highlight the roses along the edge of the flowerbed. My mother had care of the roses after my grandmother was gone.  She spent hours, making sure the mulch and fertilizer were perfect for producing large blooms. Now it's my turn to nurture the rose bed.

I feel a bond with the past as I turn over the rich black soil. It's as if I know my place in the world—I'm a link in the chain to my past.

My children and grandchildren love the rose garden. When they visit, we take time to examine each flower and admire the shape, color, and smell. 

The families that live close keeps fresh roses from the garden in their homes all summer long, whether early or late in the season.

Who will care for the roses in the future? That's still up in the air, but it will happen the way it's supposed to happen. Another link will add itself to the chain.

In our family roses are a connection to the past, an expression of love, and a conduit to the future. 

What outward extension of love do you have in your family that creates the generational chain?