Make your ancestors proud.

 

 

Have you ever thought about what your forefathers would tell you if you met them?

The question does not have to do anything with religion. It doesn’t matter at the moment if you believe that you will meet them again or do not believe in that at all. You can look at it as a thought experiment.

So, what would they say if they could talk with you?

 

Would they worry about you?

It is possible in this time we experience now they would be worried about you. Or maybe they would tell you that actually you are very lucky living in this time, in this place, even if the future is uncertain (when was it certain?).

 

Would they give you advice?

I am sure they could share with you their life wisdom. If some of them left a memoir or other written testimony of their life then you are lucky. You may also remember stories told by them or their descendants (your parents, grandparents). You can take some of their experience and apply it in your today’s life.

Also, when you read or hear about their life, their struggle, their achievements, don’t you feel pride? The confidence that if they managed to overcome all these obstacles you can do the same?

 

Would their advice be useful in today’s world?

In many ways they could understand you better than younger generations sa they could grasp better of what you had to come through in your life.

You read this blog which probably means that you are interested in your family history. Many of you have been doing their family genealogy for years (we know it is a “never-ending story”). Dry facts included in vital books or even information from other more descriptive genealogical sources do not necessarily help you directly with your current life’s problems. But still, by learning about the life of your forefathers, reading history books about their times and places, visiting their villages, can give you hints to some of the decisions you have to make today.

No matter how civilization and technology have developed, what modern cultural or political trends have become popular, there are universal truths, foundations, that let us survive thousands of years as humankind. Even if you ignore or “cancel” from your consciousness or social life those natural laws followed with humility by our ancestors, the disturbed natural systems will ultimately prevail with painful consequences.

 

A few more things your ancestors could tell you.

Would they be interested in your opinions, if you were right in all the arguments, or would they look at what you actually did in your life?

Would they notice that you were a “spectator”, “commentator”, “critic”, or that you were an example and left traces of a meaningful life?

Would they see  what you did for your own life? What you did for your (and their) kins and descendants? If you made them stronger? If you contributed in any way to the life of your neighbors, communities, by sharing your talents? If you made the life of others even just a little better? Not by just pure existence, avoiding mischiefs or misbehaviors, but by your actions?

 

Would they be proud of your life?

 

No matter what answers I am getting for myself to these questions the thought to make my ancestors proud guides my most important decisions and actions. It reminds me that I was given a limited time on the earth and I don’t know when it will end.

It brings back my focus to the things that are under my control and to return to the track I set for myself. It gives me a boost of energy, fuel, a feeling of urgency to conduct the current projects or to plan new ones no matter the situation in the whole world and my little world. To do the best job. To leave a legacy.

I hope that this way I increase the chance that I will make some of my ancestors, especially those I admire the most, proud.

And there is a bonus in that. I think that if we make our ancestors proud, even just a little bit, there is a chance that our descendants will also be proud of us.

 

Zenon Znamirowski
Founder and CEO
PolishOrigins

4 Responses to “Make your ancestors proud.”

  1. Zenon says:

    There was one response to the article sent by email which part of it I quote below:

    “But else that is actually sad thinking that should be our drive to make others happy. Is actually what make some of people more miserable…living life our family members would wish for us, or expect from us. Same with our descendants…everybody should drive own bus.

    I think more important is that we are proud from our own life, not anybody else. We are not here to accomplish somebodies expectations. Its actually sad doing thing so other members of family being proud of us. Is us who should be proud of ourselves.“

    For others who might understood the main message the article that way this is my response I gave to this reader.

    “Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    I didn’t write by purpose we should meet someone else’s EXPECTATIONS or make family members or anyone else HAPPY. I wrote about making the ANCESTORS PROUD.

    I fully agree that this is we who should first and foremost be proud of our life.

    If you are proud of your life then wouldn’t be your ancestors you admire proud of it as well?”

  2. Leonore Bannes says:

    I didn’t know my grandparents well – I was a child when they left this world. I thought that by
    seeing the towns they came from and learning something about their lives I would know more of them. Now I do. And I admire their courage in leaving their homes to cross an ocean.
    My extended family is happy also to know something about where they come from and how.
    And I do think those ancestors are proud that they are still remembered by their descendants and happy to know the courage they showed in their lives, lives on.

  3. Kirk Graff says:

    The biggest lesson learned through my genealogy work is that my ancestors had hard lives by today’s standards. So their thought process/pride would probably be divided by incredulity and you have it easy. I would have to say that I’m more proud of them as they were survivors. At least mostly, a couple ancestors were really bad. Probably a product of their hard upbringing. So I can’t shun them, I don’t know the full circumstances.
    But on the whole, they all managed to have some small part in creating me. So I am and will continue to be grateful to them, however they may feel about me.

  4. Zenon says:

    We had many responses to this article which before posted here was sent to our newsletter readers. I appreciate and thank you all of you who wanted to share their thoughts.

    There is one comment I especially wanted to share as it wonderfully complementes what I wanted to convey in the article. The author, Ed Potter, agreed to share his email and here it is:

    “Thank you for your inspiring words of reflection, Zenon! I often think about the very things you mentioned. It’s all about the power of perspective, which genealogy uniquely provides us. We all need to keep these crazy, isolated and uncertain times in perspective, and it’s very challenging. Our past still speaks to us if we take the time discover and learn from it. Each of us are literally on top of a human pyramid held up and made possible by our ancestors. Without them, there’s no you. I now can see life in perspective from on top of that pyramid. My ancestors sacrifices, hard work and dreams are an inspiration that keeps me humble and my life in perspective. That’s a gift from our ancestors to us in the present.

    Thanks for all the good work you do, I really appreciate it! “

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