What does your family tree look like? Is it tall, strong and growing? Maybe it is small and barely alive.
Do you know the names of your great-grandparents? Do you know how many aunts and uncles you have or the names of all your cousins? Have you ever looked at your genealogy to find out where your “roots” are? A strong tree will have strong roots and grow in good soil.
Many times, because of divorce, death, family feuds, or any number of other things, the branches of our family tree split and can be damaged and destroyed through the chaos. If the roots are unhealthy, so the tree will be. Does that sound like your family?
Since divorce is such a huge issue in our society, many children have no concept of where their family is or even where they belong. They sort of just wander from house to house and have no idea what a healthy family really looks like. Who do they look like? Does their nose look like their grandparents or maybe the shape of their thumb is unique, but they don’t know why. Many children feel like they stand alone and have no idea of the legacy before them. Foster and adoption can further remove them from their birth family. In these cases, the “branches” of the family tree don’t even connect.
When stepfamilies form, they try to “graft” the new family unit onto family trees. If they are not solid, don’t attach well, and not kept nourished, they can’t graft and can fall off. Sometimes because of family trauma, crisis, grudges, abuse issues, etc., part of the family tree burns away and lands in a heap of ashes. As you can see, many situations can affect the family tree and leave gaps in family identity.
Finding out where we come from gives us a sense of belonging and identity. Who do we look like? Who do we sound like? Where did we get our talents from?
What would it be like if your kids could find part of their personal identity by learning about their relatives and find out about their family tree? Make efforts to “connect the dots” for them. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Research your family geneology online or at the library
- Try to connect with family members and correspond with them
- Try to find relatives on Facebook and begin to communicate with them
- Maybe take your kids back to your hometown and share your memories
- Find pictures of grandparents and other relatives
- Maybe organize a family reunion so your kids can hear the family stories
- Help your kids make a family tree unique to them
“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10
Stop and take a look at your family tree today and take special notice of how strong it is, if it is growing, if it is setting the next generation up for success. If you are a grandparent, make special efforts to connect with your kids/grandkids. Maybe they need to hear from you and learn from you today. Keep the family tree growing!