Praise your ancestors, even the bad ones?

Next let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors in their successive generations…

… tells a devout Jew of the 2nd century to his people. And Moses told his people that God requires us to honor thy father & mother. 

Each generation has their noteworthy men and women, the wise ones whose good works have not been forgotten and the stories are told and re-told each successive generation. Those are the stories that make us proud or for some tell of wicked ways of the black-sheep of the family. But what about those other wise ones in our families? Those whose stories are forgotten, maybe the best they did was to feed their family and keep them safe. Does that not deserve respect, admiration and to be remembered too?

We each have a rich inheritance to look back into, our ancestors posterity of faith, courage, inventiveness, discovery, support, strength and so often a determined character to survive and make things better.  

I should admit that some will read this and say hold on, now wait just a minute there! I had the worst childhood, my mother had a horrible family, etc, etc. Yes, there are those families whose lives are shattered and torn apart by awful events that are caused by our own family members. My own mother’s parents would never win parent of the year and indeed their children have all suffered because of their recklessness and wanton behaviors, not to mention the 7 or 8 marriages between them.  That does not mean I think any less of my family. There are still rich histories and stories to be learned and I take the bad with the good and think, if I can learn something from those lives and if the generations after me can also learn something, then even those black-sheep will have served a purpose in life.

My great grandmother raised 8 children, the oldest (my grandmother) and the youngest were her burdens in life. She told me once that raising her children was a bit like baking a cake, the top and bottom were a little burned but the middle was just right. I smile every time I remember her saying that, I learned a lesson then.

Sometimes our ancestors do not live up to our expectations, through stories we have heard or dreams we have held about someone, and how do you accept that new image and what do you do with it. That is for another day.


About honoredgenerations

Curious by nature, passionate about family and history, I find a special calling to honor our previous generations by finding and telling their stories. Each generation leaves an impression on who we are and these lives, these unique individuals deserve to be remembered "generation unto generation".
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6 Responses to Praise your ancestors, even the bad ones?

  1. Jim Sanders says:

    Welcome to Geneabloggers.

    I have one ancestor who was constantly giving the police a hard time after drinking too much. His name appears in the paper a number of times…

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

  2. daylily says:

    Welcome to GeneaBloggers! I’ll be following your posts with anticipation. “Curious by nature, passionate about family and history” — me, too!

  3. Jacqi says:

    I am so glad to have found your blog–especially this post–via GeneaBloggers. You have a good point in this post, though it is only by grace, I think, that anyone can reach such a conclusion. I’ve written about such a story from my husband’s family in my own blog. I started writing it last November, and it took so long to unfold that I didn’t wrap it up ’til this March. It is amazing how healing and reconciling such a process can be. My husband has now taken his cue to “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers” as a motivational speaker working with high school students, but there was a time when his story could have yielded only bitterness. Putting ourselves in “the other guy’s” shoes–especially family members–is really eye-opening.

  4. A very interesting and thoughtful post. All lives should be remembered.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

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