Why Bother?

Many of you have either heard from me by mail or phone, talking about my 25-year research on all of our family members. I’ve pleaded, cajoled and begged for more, More, MORE information. You’ve helped me correct misinformation or been peeved because I made mistakes about your immediate family. You’ve tolerated my phone calls and what may have seemed like stupid or obvious questions – or even none of my business! You may even wonder what difference it all makes, why I even bother.

Well, in the immediate scheme of things, you’re right to think that it has no obvious influence on today. However, by studying our family ancestors, we find fascinating information. What they did for a living, where they lived, if, when, why & how they moved, how many children were born, what they did in their leisure time, whether or not they followed religious beliefs, whether they received any educational instruction, or how they died provides us with information that we can apply to ourselves, and ways we can help our children and grandchildren do better for themselves, because we can learn from our ancestors’ past efforts.

This information comes in a variety of topics: a) common values, like a deep respect for farmers; b) ways of thinking passed down generation to generation without really knowing we were doing it, like “charity is to be avoided no matter the cost,” or “darkies are lazy;” and c) genetic similarities in our physical appearance and health, like mouse brown hair and wide noses, or that many of us have a weakness in our spines due to a birth defect of great, great, grandfather Adam.

What difference does it make to you or me? By discovering what has come to you through no wish or effort of your own, you can improve your understanding of yourself and others. Aunt Millicent, who hasn’t talked to you in five years because she found out about your decision to accept welfare intolerable, was brought up hearing stories about people who became alcoholics once they were “on the dole.” Beneath her cold apparent anger, she is actually afraid that you’ll start drinking too much. You won’t have to feel guilty about that slipped disc in your back that happened when you were doing nothing at all. Better yet, you can avoid future problems knowing how fragile your back is, and do exercises that strengthen it, thanks to what you learned about great, great, grandfather Adam’s birth defect.

Unconscious thinking prevents us – individually, within our families and as part of the world – from being the God-created beings we are, with immense freedom to make the choices that will create a life of compassion and love, for ourselves and every living thing.

Dorman Raines