Friday, November 13, 2015

Thatched Roofs and Long Memories

Thatched Roof  House in Fiji
One of the stories we were told during the Australian conference had to do with how sharing knowledge between generations increases resilience.

The story was of a village where people lived in homes with thatched roofs made from the local grain plants.  The young people had opportunities for education that had not been available to the village elders, so sometimes the generation coming up thought they knew more about the world.   However, a time came when there was a terrible drought and all the crops the village depended on dried up and died.  The young men tried everything they knew to keep their families going, but over time they became truly desperate, with no food for their families, much less grain for planting new crops for the future.

That was when one of the old grandfathers came forward with a solution.  He told his grandson to take apart the thatched roof of their home and to carefully thresh the reeds to find the remnants of seed heads that would surely be there.   The young man did this and was astonished to find enough grain to put in a new crop for the coming season as well as some that could be ground into meal to make cakes to feed his family.  There was just enough to keep the family alive till the rains came.

The young man asked "Grandfather, how did you know there would be grain there?"  The grandfather told the young man that there had also been droughts and famine in his day when he was very young, and he remembered this was the way their village had survived that earlier hardship.

We were told to remember that Family History is much more than collecting a litany of who-begat-who names and dates.  It also includes the stories of each generation - how they endured challenges, life lessons they discovered through experience, and skills they developed.  Future generations may face very different sorts of challenges and have access to different resources than their elders did.  Still, knowing about the ways grandparents and great-grandparents faced the world can offer courage and creativity for the next generations coming up.

I think of the stories I've heard told about my own grandfather, Frank Pendley, and how he solved the problems he had on his homestead in Oak Creek.   Knowing those stories inspires me to look for ingenious ways to solve my own problems and to be willing to work hard.  

One of my goals for the coming year is to begin recording some of my own stories to pass down to my posterity.  I've done a pretty good job of documenting the histories of my fore-bearers.  I've been pretty lax when it comes to my own personal history.   

It is time for me to start changing that.

In 1980 Elder John Groberg said:  "by writing personal and family histories, we are helped immeasurably in gaining a true, eternal perspective of life. Writing our histories with the proper blend of fact and feeling (and so often, feelings in spiritual things are the real facts) gives us a deep spiritual insight into the meaning and purpose of our lives.

In his classic talk "The Angels May Quote From It"  President Spencer W. Kimball said: "“What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved? …"

Many church leaders, both ancient and modern, have counciled us to keep a record of our lives.   I've tried to do that a bit with this blog, so I will have a record of this mission.   Still, I know I can do better.  I want to be more diligent in keeping a record of the experiences I'm having, the lessons I'm learning.  Memory is so fleeting.   Through words and pictures, I want to capture the times I am living.  Perhaps one day my own children, grandchildren or beyond may find some value in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment