BlogHer prompt for Day 9 of National Blog Posting Month:
Thursday, June 13, 2013
How important do you believe it is for a person to know their roots?
Strangely enough, I go back and forth on my answer to this question.
On one hand, I do think it’s important for us to remember the stories of our ancestors, the history of where we came from, the traditions of our culture. It’a all a part of what makes us who we are. And, I think it’s the things that make us unique that make us interesting. I find the histories of both sides of my family fascinating. Not only do I like to think about how my roots have made me who I am today, I like learning new things about cultures, even (or especially) if it’s about my own.
On the other hand, sometimes it’s what makes us different that causes us problems between each other, especially if we’re afraid of those differences and as a result, don’t talk about them. Though we’ve become a melting pot, we still see ethnic communities that are closed to those on “the outside.” We still see families where marriage outside the race is discouraged, even forbidden. Knowing and appreciating our roots, our culture, can go too far, and I wonder if it is because of a fear of change. A fear of the unknown.
I often think about the lyrics to John Lennon’s Imagine:
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…
I wonder sometimes about this melting pot that we live in. What if we forgot our roots? Would it bring us all closer–make us one big family? Or would it make us bland and unable to approach things from the necessary different perspectives that result from our histories?
My conclusion is that remembering the things that make us different, our culture, our roots, our traditions is important, as long as we are not afraid of our differences. One of my favorite quotes is by Yoda. Yes, Yoda of Star Wars:
Fear is the path to the dark side.
Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to suffering.
Without fear, we could all be different and still live life in peace.