I’ve had my Grandma visiting me in the last few weeks and it’s got me thinking about heritage.
My dictionary defines heritage as:
noun [in sing. ]
1 property that is or may be inherited; an inheritance. Valued objects and qualities such as cultural traditions, unspoiled countryside, and historic buildings that have been passed down from previous generations.
I have a heritage that has been passed down to me, a Christian heritage from my mothers side and a non-Christian one from my fathers side. Thankfully, God saved me 9 years ago and the Christian heritage won out.
But I started thinking about what other sort of heritages had been passed down to me, the ones other than hair and eye colour, and whether or not I’d be tall or short.
There is the heritage of the love of the Australia bush, installed by many hours of tramping through tropical bush rainforest on the property in Cooktown, Far North Queensland where I grew up, while helping my Dad.
There is love of history—not the boring facts and figures in dot point style—but the stories of pioneer men and women who helped forge and shape Australia. The stories from my Nana and Grandma of what it was like to make do with very little and how they created their own fun.
I was five years old before any other siblings came along, and in that time my mother put lots of time and love into me. She spent hours reading to me. She read countless books, in between putting loads of washing through the old Simpson washer machine and wringer. (I have not-so-fond memories of that pinching my fingers and wringing my arm up to the elbow. Ouch!), and then reading even more books at bedtime.
After watching my Grandma here, I do believe she has passed on a heritage of writing to me. Years ago she used to write a magazine called ‘Wake Up Australia’. A magazine dedicated to letting Aussies know about different issues that politicians were trying to push through Parliament to then vote on, or articles drawing attention to matters of marriage, abortion, and other important family issues.
She picked up my copy of Sol Stein’s, “Plot and Structure” (which I have very good intentions of reading…) and she’s been reading it as she plans on writing a book on the history of Manly in Brisbane.
It dawned on me that she had passed on a heritage of writing to me, both through observation and, perhaps, genetics… Who knows, maybe that sort of thing is written into our DNA (pun intended :)).
I believe it is possible to encourage traits, both writing and otherwise in others, whether they be children, friends or acquaintances. Encourage visible traits as well as others not so visible.
Things like: a love of reading (even if it is just a comic book or recipe’s). An interest in the events that shaped families/towns/nations into what they are today. And most importantly—stories! To encourage them to take the time to listen to someone’s personal story, read a well written book or even watch a documentary.
What about you? What sort of heritage are you passing on? To any children/grandchildren, or anyone who is following your own writing journey?
Is it the sort of thing you have thought about before? And now that you have, now what? I’m going to be trying to encourage my children to read more, and not just by example of my nose stuck in a book 🙂