One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the time I am fortunate enough to spend with loved ones. I find great joy in listening, learning, and reveling in the wealth of wisdom and love that surrounds me. The people that I choose as my elders, mentors and guides never stop enriching my life.
At our dinner table this weekend, one of our family’s elders joined us for an equally nourishing meal and conversation. We all talked about lasting moments and lessons from our childhood and she specifically shared the profound effects of living through war some seventy years ago. Listening to her weave together what took place in her own backyard during World War II gave us only a peek into what she must have felt and seen. The strength and work ethic that kept her family, and arguably the rest of England, looking down and moving forward as a team with a concentrated goal in mind gave me pause. She connected this tenacity of character required from war time to her generations pragmatic approach to life. I am thankful for the opportunity to reflect on a diversity of lessons learned that I can continue to incorporate into my life today.
Our daughter furthered the conversation by asking us all a question that prompted a reflection on our past year: “What is your fondest memory of the year?” Her’s was the second year-end question I have heard this week. The other went something to the effect of: What is your greatest accomplishment this year?” While both focus on an appreciation of the year passed, each question remains distinctly different. What I glean from each is an awareness that approaching our family conversations with loving interest and questions, will guide us into a deeper knowledge of each other and ourselves as we share in the significance of today by tying it to our past and then weaving it all together for our future.
Because we live in an age of social media, which I sometimes refer to as anti-social media, conversation can be awkward or hard to bring folks into. In this season of time spent with loved ones what questions will you be asking each other? Where will you be spending time together? Will you be sharing your intentions of the past, present and future with each other? Do your elders know the impact they have on your life?
I look forward to spending time with family and friends and plan to cherish our togetherness through mutual sharing, learning and growth.
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