There’s a conversation going around these days about the generational traumas we inherit from previous generations and pass on to our descendants. I’d say it’s an attempt to justify all the inexplicable patterns that crop up in families -regardless of whether or not the people who constitute that family know better. The patterns may be in illnesses that are common in that clan, or behavioural hiccups that cause much pain and discord amongst those family members. The patterns are in mindsets that keep people from progressing in different kinds of relationships or in their finances.
In other words, generational traumas are seemingly unbeatable curses which uncommon individuals in the family are then tasked to break in their lifetime. It’s all quite legendary, makes for a good story if you are able to cast yourself as The One who will fight those battles for your loved ones -wage the ‘war to end all wars’, so to speak. (The ‘war to end all wars‘ never ends up being the last ever war, does it?)
But we don’t really talk about the things our ancestors got right and managed to pass on to us, the things that made the human race survive ’til this point in history in our various communities. I’d like to take some time to mention what I’m grateful for, something I’d like to think I carry in my genes -for better or worse.
I believe that, in my community, the generational luck we inherited was the ability to adapt to harsh situations, show respect and learn.
I may have mentioned in a previous post how we tend to show respect to other cultures, enough to learn from them and then work to understand what we need to so that we may survive. Growing up, there was no such thing as too difficult to learn. I remember I would come up with different ways to study different subjects at school -knowing that, if I didn’t understand a subject, that only meant I was a strategy away from figuring out how to learn it and learn it well. I remember my mother telling me how her own mother would say whenever mathematics seemed too hard to learn, “You can’t be defeated by something that cannot talk.”
This is the attitude we take when life gets challenging. We find a way -leaning into the generational strengths that were passed on to us. And I believe this is how many families around me survive -a resilience expressed in different ways yet present nonetheless. So today I wanted to write introspectively in honour of the resilience I witness every day. I feel that people around me don’t stop enough to clap hands for themselves for the strength they show.
Of course at times our resilience is a double-edged sword. We don’t cry out when we need to, we don’t surrender when we need to, we don’t rest when we must. But, I suppose, where would we be if those who came before us had stopped to rest before what needed to be done was done?