Have you ever had the experience of going to a family reunion and having a hard time connecting with people at first? It wasn't that you didn't love each other or care for each other. It was just that you had been away from the details of their lives for so long that it was hard to know where to begin with them. In this age of rapid communication and ease of transport, it is amazing how out of touch with our extended families we become. Our cousins are scattered all over the country and around the world, our parents are a thousand miles away, our brothers and sisters and their children live an hour or two away by car. Oh, we call once in a while, and we send out the Christmas letter every year, and we visit a couple of times a year, but really, we do not share the details of our lives the way people used to. Our lives are too busy, our schedules too crowded to sit down and really tell (or write to) people what is happening in our lives.
Yet it is through the sharing of the details of our lives that we build the bonds of family. In sharing with each other our day-to-day activities, our thoughts and aspirations, our struggles and concerns, we develop an intimacy with each other that is otherwise missing. In sharing photos of our children as they grow, of our last vacation, of our pets, we give people a key to understanding us and where we are coming from, why we are who we are. In telling stories and laughing together, we share the common ground of humor in our lives.
Family Pride--Positive Family Image
You've heard of helping to develop a positive self image in a child. There is also such a thing as a positive family image which needs to be nurtured. People need to hear about the difficult times that their ancestors and relatives experienced and the ways those ancestors and relatives mastered those difficulties. They need to hear about the accomplishments of present day members of their family. They need to know what made it hard for some people in the family to achieve their dreams. By knowing the dramatic stories of ancestors and family members, and in comparing their own lives to those of their ancestors and family members, people come to see themselves as part of a long chain through history. They can take pride in their origins.