On August 29th, 1887 the family bible was dedicated to the Woodward family and included the family tree back to 1826. Births, weddings and deaths fill the yellowing pages inside the back cover. The heirloom book waits patiently for every life to be recorded in each section. I am the current custodian and will pass it, and the responsibility, on to the next generation, when my date fills the last column. During each five-year family reunion, we look at the names and remember those that have gone before and built the family we have today.
I was blessed to be born into a family that is loving and cares for one another. Perfect, no, but the family has maintained unity over the years. The family traits include faith, a strong optimism about life and a love of each other. For others, recounting family history can be painful and the reasons, sadly, are legitimate. These wrongs may have been against an individual or a sign of the times, but they are a part of the story that we carry into the world. Heirlooms may have been lost to poverty, fire, flood or war and in some cases, reduced to a tattooed serial number on a forearm.
For good or bad, these stories are to be known and to understand the influences of how we have arrived at today. Rejoice if you have reason and start over if you don't. Today offers a choice and the opportunity to create new heirlooms and traits for the generations to come. Our history informs, but does not define our future. May today's date be found, in your penmanship, by future generations, as you create their heirlooms.
Going Further: What heirlooms will you pass onto the next generation? How do you invest in the generations that will follow you? How do you reconcile the wrongs of the past with your today? What is the greatest gift your family lineage has passed onto you? What family history question did I miss?