It’s interesting to know both my parents grew up in the Amish faith. My dad’s parents left the church when he was a child and my mother left the Amish after she joined the church and therefore experienced shunning. This meant little or no contact with most of my family on my mother’s side. There were other siblings in my mom’s family who left the Amish and I was blessed to have a relationship with them, but it wasn’t until I became an adult I came to know more of my Amish family.
A friend told me a while back one thing she tries to do consistently is journal. She said her mother had journaled for years, but before she passed away, destroyed all her work because she didn’t want others to know about the pain she experienced while enduring a vicious cancer. Yet it would be in these passages her daughter and other family members could have related with, and understood some of what she went through.
One of my cousins said she would love to journal but she would never put anything unpleasant in it, like honest feelings when angry with her husband, children or situation. She didn’t want to seem like a negative person! Here again; wouldn’t it be wonderful to see how other people, especially someone close to you endured and got through tough times!
It’s interesting to note the television series, “Little House On The Prairie” and “The Walton’s” were both formed from kept journals. Both of these shows demonstrate human tragedy, triumphs, challenges, relationships and so much more that all people can relate with at one time or another! If Laura Ingalls or Earl Hamner had never put pen to paper, neither of these shows would likely exist.
As I mentioned when I began this writing, I admitted to knowing very little about my parents. That’s probably just a ‘kid’ thing. It never occurred to me to ask and they never thought to tell. But I don't even have a clue as to how my folks met! I know very little of their growing up years and time spent with their parents, any particular illnesses they had, struggles endured, where they might have traveled for vacations or who their best friend was when they were children.
So it makes me wonder, as a parent, what did I tell my children? We get so busy “parenting” we don’t think about telling them about our lives, or we don’t believe our life experiences are worth sharing!
I am a “journaler.” It’s something I’ve done for years, long before I started “writing.” It was a form of release. It didn’t occur to me my children may want to read it someday! Will this be something my grandchildren, or great grandchildren might find interesting?
So I challenge you to consider, beginning today, if you don’t already, write some of the information about you and your family down! It doesn’t have to be perfect grammar; it just needs to be your heart, honest and real, and destroying it is not a good idea! Let your children and ancestors be recipients of your legacy!