Wednesday, September 26, 2007

History Lessons

My husband and I are blessed with two daughters. There are a number of things that I have tried over and over to teach to my 6 year old daughter -- potty training was certainly a long struggle, which we eventually mastered. Picking up after ourselves is a lesson that still eludes us.

And then there are the things that my daughter has learned without any effort at all. The most valuable of these is the importance of family. We have a large, but tight-knit extended family spread across several states, and even before having children, we would try to get together as often as possible. We enjoy spending holidays together, having family reunions or just a fun weekend together. No matter which branch of the family tree we are with, everyone laughs and shares family stories.

The other day at school, for an assignment about things that start with the letter "i", my girl drew a picture of a barn and labeled it "Iowa Farm", referencing the state where my father and his family hail from. She has never been to Iowa, and my grandparents moved here when Dad was younger than she is now. It's amazing what children pick up and retain! Last night she and her 1 year old sister were playing on the floor and my 6 year old laughed and said, "I hope she doesn't bite my bum!" Which is a famous, albeit embarassing family story from my mother's youth, involving her younger sister who was a toddler at the time...

My daughter not only feels a kinship to the family that she sees in person, but also with the family that we have lost. She is named after my mother's mother who passed away when I was a young girl, but because of the stories and pictures we share, my girl seems to feel very connected with the great grandmother she never had the opportunity to meet.

Without even realizing it, we have instilled a sense of family pride and connection in our daughter that I am sure she will pass on to her own children someday. And I think that's a lesson worth learning!

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