Passing It On

December 29, 2009

Tonight I’m going through an instant replay of a recent family gathering. About 20 of us sat in various smaller groups scattered in a large room when a cousin suggested that we focus on being one big group and share each of our stories one at a time. The theme was “my favorite thing about 2009.”

It was fascinating to hear about trips to Europe, dream vacations, personal accomplishments. Two were happy to still have jobs in this economy. Focusing on their children, one family had purchased a mountain cabin in order to be able to spend more time together.

Tonight it occurred to me that if I were sitting with people in the Ayta community where I worked for a few years, the conversation about 2009 would probably be very different. No one would have made an overseas trip or taken a vacation. Someone might mention a bumper-crop from the mango tree that allowed himto reroof his house. A woman might remember how sick her baby had been, and be grateful he was still alive. Another might talk about being able to see her son graduate from high school – the first in the family to actually finish.

It made me aware of my tendency to celebrate the big things and forget about the smaller steps along the way. The memories brought me to some basics that I too often take for granted: the privileges of health care and education, the security of steady income, the comfort of a climate-controlled home that doesn’t leak….  Both my family and my Ayta friends recognized the importance of spending time with family, of being diligent in the job one has and appreciating the provision it makes possible. Though the two groups express them in different ways,  the things remembered best and emphasized most communicate the values the next generation will absorb. What we pass on becomes the cultural framework for the children’s future. I pray we’ll be intentional about it…


One Response to “Passing It On”

  1. phmerrill Says:

    Great reminder of what’s really important, Jenny! And a good look to the future, as well.

    Happy new year.

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