Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stories of where you're from

Today is St. Patrick's Day. In Boston, where I live, this is a really big deal. Even if you're not of Irish descent you may very well be wearing green today. Many people take this as an opportunity to drink a lot of beer, eat corned beef and cabbage and carry on. Those of Irish descent may use today as a chance to reconnect with their roots, to tell stories of where they came from and the history that helps make them who they are.

St. Patrick's Day is a lot of fun, but bear in mind you don't actually need a special day to remember your heritage.You can seek out then tell those stories anytime and they'll bring value into your life.

The U.S. is a nation composed largely of immigrants (voluntary or not) and those descended from immigrants. Our ancestors brought with them a rich cultural heritage in story, music, food and tradition.Those who are native to this land have their own rich heritage of stories, music, foods and traditions to draw on. If you explore these aspects of where you're from and tell some of these stories, you may gain insight into who you are now and your role in the 21st century.

You don't need a special day to tell the stories of where you're from, be it another country, your family in another time, or from just around the corner. If you take these aspects of your personal history and weave them into your own narrative, the stories you tell will have resonance for all your audiences, even if they don't share your cultural background; audiences are usually interested in stories they can relate to and empathize with. As long as your story is one people can feel connected to ("We had a hard time but we made it." "We came from far away and now we're here." "We celebrate holidays this way only once something crazy happened.") your personal history will only enrich what is ultimately a human story, just as much as it may be an ethnic, cultural or national one.

(c)2011 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. Did I ever tell you I thought I was an American Indian until I was 12? Yeah I'm nit so good with heritage (and clearly wasn't a bright kid)


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