Grandfather's wisdom

Dear friends,

Across all indigenous cultures throughout the world wisdom has been inherited through oral storytelling.

Unfortunately, our neocolonial society has lost this tradition and we are currently reaping the consequences in significant ways. Understanding who we are as individuals begins with knowing where we came from personally and as a collective. Without the stories of our ancestors and the knowledge of our lineages we grow up feeling detached, independent, and isolated when we are really interconnected and interdependent. Often our relationships with our families are challenging; they say they want what is best for us but they don't understand our way of seeing the world. This challenge is layered with generational and cultural differences and misunderstandings.

Although, this misunderstanding goes both ways.

As young people, we have lost our respect for the older generation because we simply don’t understand their point of view, nor do we care. This week I challenged myself to sit down with my grandfather, whom I have difficulty seeing eye to eye with, and I invited him to share his story. He told me about his childhood fleeing Pakistan during the partition and how hard he and his family had to work his entire life. He told me about the horrors he experienced during this time of his life and his hardships immigrating to Canada. For the first time I was finally able to see that these traumas have shaped him to be the person he is today. I now recognize that this is one of the reasons why he is so hard on me and expects me to succeed, given all the luxuries that I have at my fingertips.

So now I relay this challenge back to you.



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