Connect To The Youth In Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History

Friday, February 8, 2013

Heartfelt feedback

Celia Lewis wrote me a very inspiring email this week.  I asked her if I could share it with you and she said I could.  She expresses exactly what I was trying to say in the first email of our 52 weeks of ideas newsletter about the value of family history.  She is a hero for turning around a destructive pattern in her family.  We all need to teach our children and grandchildren about the past so that they know the value of what we have built in our current families and that it is worth the effort you have to put in to it. 

She writes..
"About your newsletter post today - the lessons learned by the older
generation, passing on to the next...

I was very upfront with my kids about how in our family, swearing at
each other or calling each other names was absolutely not done to
people you love.   That it was as nasty as hitting them with a
baseball bat.

My own upbringing was quite challenging - my rageaholic mother
targeted me and verbally beat me into a rather broken mess for the
first 12-14 years of my life - I'm the 2nd daughter with a younger
brother. She only ranted and raged at me when others were not around,
of course.  But having random but frequent rages directly into my face
about what a piece of stupid ugly I am ( in details I'd rather
not hear ever again...even on virtual paper) - does incredible damage.
 I used to think I must have been adopted, but unfortunately I looked
just like my dad and I had older cousins I talked with when I was in
my teens who remembered mom pregnant and me as a new baby.  Sigh.

So when I grew up and married I determined never to do that to my
kids.  Ever.  I already knew that her father had also been a
rageaholic with some physical violence to the elder two of the 5
children (mom was the baby); and that HIS father had been rather
fanatically 'religious' and physically abusive as well.  Not in my
house, thank you very much.

The best statement my kids ever gave me was when my eldest daughter (I
have 4 kids, 2 of each) told me when she in her 20s "Well, mom," she
stated with one hand on her hip, "we might not have liked what you
decided was our discipline or consequences when we were out of line,
but ... (long pause) ... we always knew you had thought about it for
awhile, first.  You didn't just get all reactive and mad like (a
friend's parents).  So that was okay, I guess."

I taught parenting classes for over 23 years to keep myself honest
with my kids, being clear about their developmental abilities, keeping
the house rules down to 3 rules, and trying my best.  I was very open
about the abuse in my mother's family - people think that only sexual
abuse is bad... Let me tell you that emotional abuse is absolutely
soul-destroying.  Three of my four kids are married, two with 3
children each, and I'm very proud to say that they all - all 4 of my
kids - are absolutely respectful and clear communicators with

Yes, one does need to teach the stories in one's family.  Not only to
add depth to what your grown up kids think they know, but also for
their own children to understand that being the best you can be is
sometimes hard work, sometimes incredible fun, and sometimes very
frustrating to figure out in the middle of a problem situation.  But
it's possible.

All best wishes in your genealogy endeavours!

- Celia
Vancouver BC

Congratulations Celia.  You are a real ground breaker, understanding your roots and strengthening the future generations.  

1 comment:

  1. Celia, I am so sorry you had to go through all of that!!! THANK YOU for sharing your story. You have been a great influence on your own family but hundreds, maybe even thousands, more.
    Janet, thanks for sharing Celia's comments.
    I LOVE the book (what I have seen online), the workbook and the emails. I am so excited to read them cover to cover and try to incorporate the ideas into my own lives and the lives of others!