“Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Mark 10:9
While celebrating our forty-third wedding anniversary this past week Tee and I began to share stories with each other about our life together all these many years, all the way back to the beginning of our relationship. It was a fun conversation for they are our stories, the ones we created together. We spent most of our time laughing, even about things that were not necessarily funny at the time. It also just so happened that we were celebrating our wedding anniversary right on the heels of celebrating the birth of our fourth grandchild which made it an even more joyous occasion.
The stories we shared with each other that evening meant more than just sweet memories for the two of us – much more. They are history, real history, history that matters and should be passed on. As acclaimed author, speaker and Benedictine Sister, Joan Chittister explains in her powerful book The Gift of Years: “Family tales have always been the parables one generation handed down to the next to tell us who we are and where we came from. . . . The tale-telling of the older people [is] the catechism of the family. These [are] the life lessons meant to make us all stronger, wiser, and truer. It is those stories told in front of the fire, in the kitchen during a wake, at parties and memorial services, at holidays that become the fiber of a family, a group, a people. These stories become the living history that binds us together.”
A primary role of grandparents is to ensure that grandchildren are aware of who they are and where they came from. We must teach them the “catechism of the family” as Joan Chittister refers to it. They must know our stories, for better or worse, rich or poor, in sickness and in health, life lessons to help them grow stronger, wiser, and truer. It is what marriage and family is all about; why it remains one of the most sacred and influential of all institutions; and why we must endeavor to preserve and protect it. “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”