Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1 (NIV)
It all started with a request from our granddaughter to provide five generations of ancestors for a school project. That wasn’t too hard, but finding the specifics and the stories behind these names was harder. The good news is that we rediscovered some wonderful ancestor stories already in our possession.
What was more important than the pedigree of names, dates and places were stories of a sustaining faith even in the face of very difficult circumstances. The obvious question is “Are those characteristics of strength, courage and faith, elements of nature or nurture?” Will this school assignment teach these life lessons? Will sharing the stories help us live our own story with more purpose and meaning?
There is a lot of debate theologically and scientifically about the origins of faith and meaning. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in his recent book, The Great Partnership: Science, Religion and the Search for Meaning, articulates a comprehensive response that promotes the integration of these perspectives.
As a new grandfather, I thought it was important to document the early history of my grandchildren, so I made short videos of their births and baptisms. Now, questions about our family history are new chapters in their stories. What a gift to be invited to be a partner in learning with them the stories of our ancestors!
Sacks, J. (2014). The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (Reprint ed.). Schocken