When I was young, family was everything, the family included Great Grand Parents, Great Aunts and Great Uncles, 2nd Cousins, 1st Cousins, Cousins and all matter of the extended generations. You knew those from whom you were decended and knew those who came after you, the Family Tree was a living breathing entity, and the homes of each were loaded with shrines to those who had gone before them and were no longer amongst us, but they were often remembered by the stories that were told each time the family, met.
Then came the 70’s, and it was the time of “doin your own thing” and then came the era of the “nuclear family”, the time when those who were doing their own thing started moving away, starting again as if they sprang out of the ground with no past, just a present and a future. Families began to be self contained units of individuals with only limited ties to any previous generation (except immediate parental units), hence the term “nuclear family”. I find it sad that there is a generation that does not remember, nor have they experienced being in the same room and talking to someone that lived 60, 70, 80 or even 90 years before they were born. The stories that they missed, the information they will never have (because you cannot find it on the internet), and the feeling of connection that one experiences from being “family“.
Today however, I have seen somewhat of a resurrgence, people are starting to ask the question, “who am I and from whom do I come”? Lately even the media has been producing shows about people in search of their “Roots” and the internet is loaded with websites which link to huge amounts of data about everyone and anybody from billions of documents being scanned into them so that people can access where and when great-grandpa and great-grandma first came to “America”. It’s a start in the right direction, but it’s not the same, I myself am in the process of building a family tree, the difference is that for the most part “I knew these people” that I am entering into the tree.
What’s my answer, stay connected, make memories with all those that are “FAMILY”, do not go nuclear, we all have precious little time here, so we should spend at least part of it getting to know those who came before us, for I believe you cannot truly know yourself until you know from whence you came.