I believe in the Wisdom of “Grammie” and, more generally, of my family forbears. I am the beneficiary of the legacy of their collected experience, lessons, insights. I believe their lives were harder; they lived through privations, depressions, wars, early deaths of children, frequent dislocations; I’m mindful that they worked harder than I have ever had to work. Perhaps in a way they savored life more, appreciated life more, had more time to reflect. I never met most of my ancestors; most of those I did, I knew for only a short period of time, at a time that I was too young to appreciate them. “Grammie” was my Dad’s maternal grandmother. She became a mother to him and his sister and, for the short time that our lives overlapped, a grandmother to me. After she died and I was old enough to understand, my Dad, from time to time, would tell me: “Grammie used to say …” and then relate to me something she said, and implicitly something learned. My mother would tell me about her father’s life, and the wisdom he passed down by example. Now at a time when all of my ancestors and my parents have passed on, and I reach a point in my life when I have time to reflect, and integrate the experience of my life, I more fully realize and appreciate the legacy of my earlier family members, their direct and indirect influences on my life. I believe in the insights derived from delving into family history, genealogy, and now genetealogy. As a family historian myself and part of a community of genealogists, I find it gives us an ever growing understanding of who we are and the world we live in, on several levels.
I believe in the Wisdom of History. Though, as a high school student required to study history, it seemed dry as dust and equally as useful, as I’ve lived my life to this point I find that history becomes only more and more relevant. It links me to the lives and experiences of those who came before me and the world as they saw and knew it. History gives me the context as well as the biography. History gives depth and understanding to the present and how it came to be, and patterns for insights into the likely course of events going forward.
I believe in the Wisdom of Science: the collected experience, observations, understanding of thoughtful observant people who had an appreciation of the world and took steps to understand it better. As a high school student I was attracted to the phenomenological aspects, the “oh wow” amazements of science. As a graduate student I was taken with the tenets and philosophy of science. I have come to know and collaborate with many natural and medical research scientists who have dedicated themselves to revealing an understanding of a part of the still unknown. I believe that each one who seeks greater understanding, whether successful or not, whether recognized or not, makes a contribution to our collective understanding and benefit.