Skip to main content

Why should we care about our heritage?

My dad recently shared this amazing story of how he recently discovered an amazing family connection as a result of our little family pet project of chronicling our family history.

gomorun2An extract from the family genealogy book being compiled by my recently discovered long-lost grand uncle

On the way to work this morning, I was recounting the story to hubby. I remarked how amazing and mind blowing it was to discover this whole long chain of connections and historical roots.

After listening to me go on and on about it for a while, when I paused for a second to catch my breath, hubby commented, “You know, somehow I don’t think my own father’s side of the family would want to share their family history… in fact I think it might even make them a bit sad to talk about it.

Then hubs went on to say, “Come to think of it, I myself don’t really see what the big deal is… I mean, why is it so important to know all this family history? It’s just information; I can’t do anything with it.

This was the brief conversation that followed that opening remark…

Me: Well, I think it’s important to know our heritage… it’s something I’d like to pass on to our children as well. I think it’s important for them to know where they came from.

Hubs: But what can they DO with the information?

Me: Well, Imagine we traced your family history and discovered that you are connected to a famous emperor in China! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Hubs: But I don’t get anything out of that knowledge. So what if I told people around me, “Hey, I’m related to such and such emperor!”… It doesn’t make anything around me any different.

Me: I’m not saying that you need to tell other people. It’s just a knowledge you treasure up for yourself. Just knowing who you are inside… where you came from.

Hubs: But I’m very secure in myself already. I don’t need to know who my ancestors are to feel good.

Me: Well I think knowing our history is very important. Our past makes us who we are today. Otherwise we will just be people without a past… just empty and cut-off without being able to see how we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

Hubs: Okay, okay… I know you think you are trying to explain something very deep and profound to me. But honestly, I simply don’t feel the same way as you do.

Me: Ya, I can see that. Look, I tell you what, I’ll have a think about it and come back and tell you my answer.

Hubs: Okay. I’m not guaranteeing that I will agree with you. But you can go and think about it and come back and tell me what you thought about.

So I’m thinking about it.

In the meantime, let me share a few quotes I came across about knowing one’s heritage…

No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.”
– Maya Angelou

"Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your children's children."
– Deuteronomy 4:9

To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.
– Chinese Proverb

~~~

imageRead more on our little family pet project
to compile our Stories of Long Ago

 

UPDATE: Further thoughts on why we should care about our heritage.

Comments

  1. was speaking to a friend about compiling all these essays into a book. he's a photographer. so could explore taking photos of remains and family members etc. it could be a family project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be pretty awesome. Something really solid to be able to have as a real family keepsake for all of us.

      Delete
  2. i agree with you Serene.. the stories from you, your mum and suanie have had quite an impact on me. it's hard to put a finger on what it is exactly, but it makes me feel more grounded and reassured somehow. it's been great... please keep them coming!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks wanwan... the stories are really ones I've heard from my mum and dad. It's been really mind+heart opening to hear all this stories coming out. I'm learning all this stuff as well along with you.

      Delete
  3. Thanks, MH for asking the question. I'm thinking with you, Serene. =) I agree with everyone else... I looooove these posts about your family history. I was one of those weird students who loved Sejarah in high school (and later in college,... and then in graduate studies) and it has been good for me to think of why I love it so much. haha =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! You are certainly one of those fortunate ones that blossomed through the terrible cracks of Malaysian education. My mum used to tell how sejarah was always one of her favourite subjects in school. But I never understood it all through sec school. Our history teacher was one of those that just came in, opened the textbook and made us read a paragraph in turn until the end of the period. It was only after leaving school that I discovered the wonder and richness of learning history through non-textbooks.

      Delete
  4. Dear Irene, if I am not mistaken, you have Dusun roots too. Furthermore, it will be interesting to explore your Indo Chinese roots too.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love reading every single one of them! Although I may not be able to reply to each comment, I will definitely pop over to your blog to say hello.

I love hearing from readers and fellow bloggers alike. If you're a little shy or would like to get in touch with me directly, drop me an email at serenely@outlook.com

More Popular Posts



DSC07989Our DIY outdoor chalkboard

Today’s entry is not so much a post as it is just a way to showcase the latest addition to our outdoor play area… Our new mega sized outdoor chalkboard!

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY »


SnailCraftCollage2Learning about snails

This past week has been all about snails.The children are always fascinated by the snails in our garden and ask endless questions about them.A couple of weeks back, one of my boys stumbled across a snail crawling along the ground.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY »


DIY magnet shapes

A couple of weeks ago, I had posted this snapshot of these set of magnetic shapes I made on my Instagram.  I received a few curious questions on how I made them.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY »


DSC06501A_thumb[1]Three Questions

And so Nathan’s very first day of kindergarten is over. It was a mixture of good, bad, sweet and sour. I think that so much happens throughout the day, it can be challenging for a little person to filter through it all.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY »


DSC05282My cup runneth over

These days my days are packed full to the brim. From the moment I wake up to the sound of Grace calling through the baby monitor and Nathan’s cheeky face peering at me over the edge of the bed… to the evening when I finally tuck them into bed and say goodnight.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY »


Catch up with me on Instagram @livingserenely