Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Connecting the past to the future

I’m surprised at how long it’s been since I posted anything here. I won’t make excuses, though, as I recently was given sage advice against doing so. “Your friends don’t care, and your enemies won’t believe you.”

It’s been on my mind to expound on the trip my daughter, grandson, and I made to Colorado. I experienced a wonderful blending of generations that long weekend—the end of September – October 1.

It’s sobering to realize that I am now part of the older generation. My parents and all of my aunts and uncles have passed on. At a family reunion on Saturday, us “kids”—my siblings and cousins—enjoyed discussing the old times when our parents were young, hard-working couples who enjoyed getting together, often at our grandparents' home. We reminisced about our school days and our classmates. And of course we shared stories and pictures of our grandchildren, some of whom were present. On Monday, I had the opportunity of speaking with children at one of Loveland’s many elementary schools. Interacting with kids puts a spring in my step and joy in my heart and makes me feel young all over again.

I listened to a videoabout an author, Velda Brotherton, who writes family history and folk lore of the Ozark Mountains where she grew up. I began thinking of the importance of connecting the past with the present, by introducing the elderly to the children, as a way to affect the future. Although I don't write historical fiction or nonfiction, I think those who do provide us a great service as they give us a glimpse into the past. Velda said, "Our old folks are a national treasure, but we don't treat them that way." I agree. She also said, "our past is our future." If we can just connect our youth to the treasury of our seniors, I believe we can enrich the future with lessons from the past.

After listening to Velda's video, I caught up on reading Janet Riehl's blog. She recently interviewed her father, Erwin Thompson, age 92, author, musician, dancer, and brush-clearer. What an inspiration! I was particularly struck by his stories about square dancing. When his wife was a girl scout leader, they often got kids together for dances. It sounds like a great opportunity for the older generation to mentor the younger one. And what fun! Wouldn't it be great to get a group of senior citizens, along with members of younger generations together, with a band, once a month to learn various dances.

I feel like I'm rambling a bit, plus I'm almost late for an engagement, so I'll sign off for now and write more later.

1 comment:

Janet Grace Riehl said...

Thanks, Janet, for mentioning my father's activities and his words on Riehlife for his 92nd b-day party. We had a great time at the square dance Saturday night. About 50 folks showed up, some to visit and enough for 2 squares (16 people) to dance. When I was in high school we cleared out our living room of furniture and had square dance parties at our house every month there for a year.

Velda's video is moving. I was touched by her comments on coming home...I'll also be posting something on that later.

What I admire about what I'm learning about you and your life is the intermingling of the generations in your family and how you work and play together.