Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Where Did I Come From?

Kids eventually pose that question. College applications ask about your background and your parents. Historians address the same issue from a broader perspective. Evolutionary scientists tackle it from a different angle. And theologians take yet another approach. But everyone eventually gets around to the same basic question: Where did I come from? Its related to the question about meaning and purpose.

Apart from the birds and the bees (and I’m not talking about ornithologists and apiologists), there’s also the matter of your Family Tree, the field genealogists love to research. I’m am amateur genealogist, that is to say I am not licensed; but I have published six articles, one of which is in the scholarly journal: The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Some of my ancestors came over on the Mayflower.)

Knowing where we come from gives us a sense of identity, a sense of belonging. Thanksgiving and several religious holidays are right around the corner when families gather together to renew ties and celebrate relationships. This is a perfect opportunity for you to ask your grandparents about where they came from, and not just about dates and place of birth and marriage, but family stories as well. Ask them what they remember about their parents and grandparents and write the stuff down, or better yet burn it. Believe me, you’ll bring a twinkle to their eye and they’ll feel you genuinely care about them and their life story. And once you get a snap shot into their life experiences it’ll make history class, etc so much more interesting. And when you have kids one day, you’ll be able to pass on the living heritage.

So why am I going on about genealogy? Because family history fosters a sense of belonging and enables you to understand family dynamics. “Where do I come from?” is a question centered around identity, connections, and purpose. At Rockhurst we strive to foster a sense of belonging to a community, a new family as it were. People need a sense of connectedness and rootedness. Tap into your own family roots. By being at Rockhurst you can tap into four hundred fifty years of a Jesuit tradition grounded in Catholic roots that go WAY back. Even if you don’t come to Rockhurst, ask your grandparents about their lives and memories and record the info so you can one day pass it on.

I’m a theology proff so bear with me just a bit. In the Gospel of Luke it records Jesus’ genealogy and it takes him back all the way to Adam. It then calls Adam, “son of God.” Jesus’ Family Tree is stressing relationships and rootedness in God. But Luke purposely recorded Jesus as the seventy-seventh descendant. In other words, he was the perfection of what it means to come from God and be in a relationship with God. At Rockhurst you’ll get an education that focuses on the whole person: body, soul, and spirit; an education that enables you not only to answer on multiple levels for your self: Where did I come from? but also Where am I going?

1 comment:

Manuela said...

Well written article.