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I Am The Sum Of My Ancestors

Faces of America's final episode aired last night, about how similar we are genetically to our ancestors. I was thinking about this yesterday, I have many traits that come from generations of women passing on their skills to their daughters, whether it be sewing and needle crafts, cooking, gardening, or family values, child-rearing, beliefs, and traditions.

It makes sense, when you think about it, that certain traits run in families, such as singers, actors, politicians or athletes. It is more than just outside influences that steer people towards their vocation, genetics plays a large roll in it as well. People are born with natural abilities that predispose them to follow certain paths.

From quite a young age, children are praised for their performances, so are more apt to enjoy doing the activities that they are able to do well and get the most attention. If they enjoy the activities, they are more likely to keep doing them and "practice makes perfect".

I have often wondered why I have so many different hobbies and interests, and I have come to the conclusion that it is in my genes, my maternal DNA. My mother and grandmothers were all creative, whether it be sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cooking, gardening, woodworking, painting, etc.

I have my female ancestors to thank for the skills and talents I have come to take for granted. I can't count how many times that I have saved money because I had the skills to do-it-myself instead of paying someone else to do it. I just wish I would have had a daughter to pass my knowledge on to as well. Being the mother of two boys, I passed on as much of my skills and values as I could, they weren't interested in cooking and sewing, but I think that the one trait that I passed on from my ancestors was their "can do attitude", you can do anything you put your mind to.

I see it in them all of the time, whether it be my oldest son, working on his truck, or my youngest son making a shelf, with every achievement, they have more self-confidence. I think that I passed on the best of my ancestors to my children; honesty, perseverance, attention to detail and taking pride in their achievements.

I've repeated my mother's words to my children more often than I can count, "a job worth doing, is worth doing well," "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," "tell the truth and shame the devil", but I never gave much thought to where she heard those words herself until now. Of course, she heard them from my grandmother, and my grandmother heard them from her mother, and so on....

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Ancestral Notes by Earline Hines Bradt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.

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