Honoring Our Ancestors: They are Closer than We Think
by Kim Nash
Do you ever think about your ancestors—distant relatives whom you may have never met but you somehow feel connected to? Perhaps you’ve seen a photograph of them, and as you gaze at their faces you see yourself. Perhaps you’ve been privileged to actually have a relationship with a great-grandparent, or another family elder.
In this day of social media, text messaging, and e-mail, it’s easy to lose touch with who we really are in life, and the human connection with our loved ones.
Many of us are descendants of people who made sacrifices so that we could live “a better life.” Take time to think about your history, learn about your ancestors, and instill some of the traditions of their day into your life. Here are some ideas to keep their memory alive, and share this heritage with others, especially children.
Display a photograph. Take your old family photos out of storage and place them in frames around your home. Learn about the people in the photographs, and share your discoveries with anyone close to you. You may even find that you share a name, birth date, or another distinguishing characteristic with one of your ancestors.
Don’t let your heirlooms gather dust. If you’ve acquired a set of china, a tablecloth, silverware, or any other treasured item from your family, use it. The same holds true for recipes. On holidays or other special occasions, incorporate some of these heritage items into your own traditions. Remember, your ancestors once used these treasures in their rituals and celebrations, so honor your family by doing the same.
Visit a special memorial site. There are many commemorative places that give recognition and honor our ancestors. Possibly the most recognizable and diverse is Ellis Island. Take a trip to visit this remarkable place or somewhere special near you. If your ancestor’s name is etched on the “Wall of Honor” sketch their name with paper and a lead pencil, as a keepsake. You can also visit the website and discover the rich history of those who made the journey. There is no better way to honor our ancestors than by keeping them close, and keeping their memory alive. Along the way, you may discover that they really are closer than you could ever have imagined.
About the author: Kim Nash is a Certified Wedding and Life-Cycle Celebrant. As a Celebrant, Kim enjoys creating personalized ceremonies. She is particularly drawn to the dynamics between two people, weaving separate life stories, and joining them together as one. Kim lives in Birmingham, Michigan. She can be reached at [email protected].