Monday, August 19, 2013

Where do YOU Come From?

To whom do you belong? Who claims you, and in turn, who do you claim?

When I was young, there was more a culture of "family" in the USA. I grew up half an hour from grandpa and grandma's and enjoyed monthly get togethers with my MANY cousins. To this day, I treasure my relationships with each of them. I have a large community of support.

My husband grew up across the country from the few extended family members he has. He has very tight family relations, people who would beat the tar out of you for looking at any of them the wrong way. (I love his family.)

As you can imagine, this has made for an interesting mesh of views.

Saturday, we had the opportunity to listen to a man who has researched how to strengthen families. He showed us statistics about the influence parents and siblings have on individuals, and how it diminishes over time. The pattern is that kids who go their own way break free from their parent's patterns between ages 14 and 18.

He also presented a study that was performed by psychologists about the factors that make for well grounded kids--or ones that deal well with the stress and change. The potential answers included:
  • A. Eating breakfast together as a family every morning 
  • B. A deep understanding of their family history
  • C. Regularly attending religious services

Can you guess the answer? I was rather shocked.

B. A deep understanding of their family history.

And that's why I ask the question. I guess if you know where you come from and the legacy passed to you from your ancestors, you feel a greater obligation to live up to or be better than them.

Do you know who your ancestors are, and do you have any stories of their lives you cherish?

P.S. Here's an awesome tool for figuring out who you belong to, if you haven't done it already.


45 comments:

  1. That's interesting. My grandmother, before she died, was adamant about writing down her autobiography (just for family) so people would know where her side of the family came from. It's good to know how deep your roots go. :)

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    1. That's so cool! My grandparents have been awesome about gathering family stories together. I have books and books about great and great-great grands. Some of the things they lived through...whew!

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  2. I grew up with many relatives within a 30-minute drive. I had a bunch of cousins to play with. Over the years, many of my aunts and uncles divorced. Most of my family is still live in the same state.

    My kids have a good connection with family. We've been lucky to have so many relatives want to be a big part of their lives. As my kids get older, I see that I have few precious years left before they make their own way in the world. I love the family my husband and I have created. We're close, and I hope it always stays this strong.

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    1. That's awesome, Theresa. I do miss that dynamic--being across the country from everyone, but there's value in the distance too.

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  3. Interesting, but I find it hard to believe that having a deep understanding of one's family history has that much of an effect on how well-grounded and adjusted children are. I think how those children are treated TODAY, and how their family and friends interact TODAY would be of much more importance to a healthy development than knowing the names and histories of some long-lost relatives. I think the values developed and demonstrated within a family, and the sharing of meals and other experiences, and the sharing and teaching of morals and religious beliefs would be of much greater importance. If knowing one's family history were all-important, wouldn't that essentially doom orphans from the get-go?

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    1. I know, strange, huh? I guessed it was the family breakfasts, but no.

      On that orphan's thing, yes, I think it does make a difference in how grounded they are. Still, even if their family is gone, it doesn't mean they didn't have one. I think it still applies--the whole connecting to your roots.

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  4. That is very interesting. I had a great aunt who researched both sides of her family, and thus created books about it, but although I know my family history, it doesn't affect my behaviors. Very interesting study. It'll make me think more on it.

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    1. I think there comes a time in our lives when everyone becomes interested in their ancestry. For some it happens at an older age.

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  5. I've got to disagree with these psychologists. I'd say spending time as a family is more important any day.

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    1. Knee jerk reaction, I'd agree, but based on the study I'm inclined to reconsider.

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  6. Very interesting! I can see how knowing where you came from can make all the difference. :)

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    1. I think often even on a subconscious level, eh?

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  7. My son and I have shared a lot of genealogical research. We've found out so much about our ancestors--good and bad. We've spent tons of time collaborating, and that's been the best part.

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    1. How awesome! See, there you go, bringing family closer together, eh?

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  8. That is really interesting. Yet I do remember a girl in basic training whose parents were both the descendants of people from many places and races. She had a serious identity crisis because she wanted desperately to connect and couldn't put her finger on any. It was sad.

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    1. Man, that's crazy. I can see where she might have a hard time figuring things out.

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  9. That is a very interesting answer indeed. One that I would not have guessed. I actually know very little about my family history. This post makes me want to research it and learn more. I think I may do just that :)

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    1. Go for it! (That's why I included a resource.) ;)

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  10. I'd not have thought that would be the answer either. But I wonder how much it ties into a sense of belonging to something bigger than just ourselves maybe? I've always known some about our family history and now that my Mom and grandparents are gone, I miss being able to ask them questions about it.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting. It's great to meet you! :)

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    1. I know what you mean. My father passed away a few years ago, and his journals/grandma's stories have been invaluable.

      Great to meet you too, Karen!

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  11. Interesting. But I think my daughter is really well grounded and we don't focus on family history that much and there's a hole in hers because she's adopted. We are spread all over the country too and make great efforts to stay in touch with family on both sides, which is why we rarely go on family vacations.

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    1. I hear you! It can definitely be difficult to keep close with family with so much distance, but you do the best you can, eh? The spokesman also said something about kids having a solid 3 people in their lives, and how that's essential to a strong balance.

      Adopted or not, you are your daughter's family, right? You, your siblings, parents, etc? Family is so much more than genetics.

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  12. Oh wow! I'm shocked by the answer as well! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. I guess it depends on what is meant by "family history". Do I know who my three-times great grandmother was? No. But I have a sense of the family that I did know and where they came from (although I learned more of that as an adult).

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    1. Exactly--strong family ties, a deep sense of belonging and heritage.

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  14. I grew up in an Italian-American community where my entire extended family lived within a half-hour radius. Aunts, uncles, and first cousins celebrated every birthday. Cousins, second-cousins, third-cousins, great-aunts and uncles etc got together once a year for a giant picnic. I was proud that I knew all the branches of my family tree.

    Sadly, that closeness slowly unraveled. Cousins grew up and moved away. The great-aunts and uncles began to pass away. That reunion picnic now happens every 10 years instead of annually. And the last time I attended, I realized I no longer knew half the people there. :(

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    1. =( Yeah, that was how it worked for my family too--except I still know most of them. We keep in touch via social media. *gasp* Social media being used for its intended purpose? Shh, don't tell anyone. ;)

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  15. This is a big thing for me right now. I started writing something about my family history. It's a bit daunting but invigorating and challenging at the same time.

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    1. Awesome! I tried writing a piece about my brother who passed away, and couldn't get through it. It's definitely tough to write about family.

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  16. Thanks for sharing the site. I'm going to check it out.

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  17. Hey Crystal. I'm with you. Family is super important, and you have to work really hard these days to make time to get together. I find it interesting that many authors make sure the hero and heroine have no parents as parents are problematic to write. I can see the wisdom behind this, but I'm always nosy about parents - after all, they probably made the hero and heroine what they are today!

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    1. Yeah, I understand why they do it--the whole "life in turmoil" thing, but many of my favorite books are the ones where the protagonist has an amazing relationship with at least one parent, and that dynamic is a major aspect of their psyche.

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  18. I remember hearing about that. It was very interesting. I know a little about my family's history, but only a few generations back. Funny because I don't think I'm particularly well-grounded :P.

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    1. No time like the present to start, eh? ;)

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  19. On my father's side there are lots of Germans. Mom's side? Welsh. When the boys had to do family reports we took them to Germany to see the town their ancestors came from. They still remember that.

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    1. Wow. That is so cool, Catherine. I would freak at that kind of opportunity. Most my ancestry filtered down through Canada, England and Ireland, and though I've done the Canada thing, I'm very much looking forward to hitting the other places. Time to finish that teleportation devise, eh?

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  20. On both sides, my people did not discuss their origins. I always thought it was weird that it was on both sides of the family.

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    1. That is weird, Libby. Hm. Time to start asking questions, eh? ;)

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  21. What a thoughtful and relevant post. This is something I am sadly lacking.

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    1. No time like the present to get started, eh?

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  22. Family relationships are fascinating. For me, understanding these is an important part of building characters in my fiction. In my real life, I find that I appreciate family more and more as I get older. Cool post!

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    1. Definitely. Family is everything, right?

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Hit me with your cheese!