2 June 2020
In the newspaper this morning I read a review of a children’s book called Rocky and Louie. A story about two Aboriginal children, it was written to inspire Aboriginal kids to learn about their own culture while living, thriving and succeeding with the wider world as well. The comments that stuck with me were that it wasn’t about being an Aboriginal person, it’s about being a person. One of the authors was quoted “once you know who you are and where you come from, you suddenly get your chin up and your chest out. Once you are proud of who you are, you’re a better person to everybody”.
What’s your culture? What have you learnt from your family history that makes you the person with their chin up and chest out? Whether you know much or anything about grand parents, great grandparents or beyond, what have you seen passed down through the generations that still exists in your family?
My family ‘culture’ I’ll try to sum up in a few words. Over the course of the next couple of hundred words:)
Laughter – every family gathering I’ve been to throughout my life seems to contain a lot of laughter. This is especially so on my Mum’s side of the family, but both sides have enjoyed the humour that can be found in everyday life. My immediate family growing up was very fond of “play on words” type of humour around the dinner table. I swear this taught my brain to think quick, to try to keep up with the flow of funny.
Photos – our lot seem to like photography. I have photos spanning back many generations. Whether it’s the actual taking of photos, or of the latent hoarding gene that meant they didn’t get thrown out, I’m not sure. I appreciate that part of my family history, either way!
Pioneer – various strains of my family have relocated to another country, for better opportunities, for a more healthful life, or for whatever reason (and no none of them that I’ve found have been sent out as criminals – sorry to ruin the world view that all Australians descend from convicts). On arriving in a new country they had to start from scratch, whether it’s houses or friends they had to find.
Self-sustaining. There is a long family history of growing vegetables, fruit, chopping wood, and fixing things whether it’s cars or furniture. This is evident in some parts of my family still. I still take the car to a service centre, however. And my veggies come from a shop. Apart from the basil growing out the back (and slowly ripening passion fruit!)
Hard work – one great grand mother ran a shop in Mt Hawthorn, one of my grandmothers took sole responsibility for bringing up family and running family business on the premature death of her husband. There is not much family history of people sitting around on their bums tapping away on their phones….until me, that is!
Building – at the risk of ruining the premise of today’s diarrhoea, I’d also suggest that one of the traits in part of my family is IGNORING your genetic ancestry! On one side of the family, we have a couple of significant illegitimate relatives. These people have stepped up and away from any restrictions or public opinions that may have been present – particularly in the era when they grew up – and forged ahead. Making a life and a future, it really gave a lot of weight to the ‘nurture not nature’ argument, where they were a credit to who raised them, not to who gave them life.
I’m sure more traits from my family genetic chest will pop into my brain as soon as I have posted today’s bit of diarrhoea, but this is good for a conversation starter anyway.
What makes your chin rise and your chest stand out, recognising your family culture?