Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Letter from Your Great-Great Aunt

One day here at the library, a few of us were discussing what genealogy in the distant future would look like. It had occurred to me one day, as I was reading a 100+ year old newspaper in digital form, that a hundred years from now our descendants will probably be perusing a database full of old social networking pages, blogs, etc. in order to learn more about who their great-great-grandparents were and what they were like. May mercy be cast on them as they discover their ancestor's fondness for garish blog colors and hapless widgets. There is little doubt that what we put online today will play a part in future genealogy research. There are already projects underway to archive internet content. With that in mind, I started to think about what it is that I would want my descendants to know, not just about me, but what some timeless advice would be that I would want them to discover. And wouldn't that be a good idea, to write down what wisdom I would want my great-great-grandchildren (or as the case stands now, great-great-nieces and nephews) to know? So here are some things that came to mind:

When you get married, start out with a nice new house that doesn't need a lot of work. Things will be difficult enough without the hassles and stresses of a renovation job. If you can't afford a nice new house, rent until you can afford to buy one. And by "new" I don't mean it has to be newly built, I mean one that is in good enough condition that you can move in and have it the way you like.

It's nice not to have any regrets, but if you do, that's okay. It's completely normal. Just don't spend a lot of time on your laments, keep looking forward.

When praying, be sure to seek the Lord's will above everything else. Ask that He put up plenty of blocks and barriers so you can identify if something is not His will. It will save you a lot of trouble and keep you from having to guess whether you have made the right decision.

If far into the future our family is no longer rural or agrarian, find a place to plant a garden anyway. It will teach you so much. Aside from the lessons in science, it will build character and exercise your faith. The sense of accomplishment you achieve will be your reward. Also, when planting a vegetable garden, only plant things you actually like to eat.

If you see a large mass of people getting excited about something, it's probably not worth getting excited over. Don't get caught up in the hype of what "might" be or what "could" be, as no one knows the future and these things may not come to pass.

Beware of people who talk non-stop. An empty barrel makes a lot of noise.

Watch out for idols. An idol is anything you put before your relationship with God. If you can't make time for God because something else is more important, it has become an idol. Anything or anyone in your life can become an idol.

If you find yourself worrying about something but think that it is too small to take to God in prayer, then it is not worth worrying about.

Don't rely on your "Christian heritage" as insurance that you are walking with the Lord. God only has children, not grandchildren. Many people mistakenly believe that because their parents are Christians, then they must be too. It is up to you to study the Bible and forge your own convictions. No one else.

You may inherit our unfortunate metabolism, which completely gives out around age thirty. For some people, it never works right from the beginning. I'm terribly sorry about this, we all battled it, too. It seems to come from the Stoltzfus line. At least, that's where all the finger pointing leads. I hope that by the time you read this nutritional science has come up with a work-around.

And finally, dear descendants, please remember that as I write this I am yet young-ish and there is plenty of wisdom out there I haven't even heard yet, let alone know about.So this is by no means a definitive list.

If you like this idea of leaving your future descendants virtual advice, feel free to use it on your own blog. I only ask that you link back to me so my descendants will know that I had an idea once in a while.


  1. Monica,
    I think you are a very wise woman. I love this idea. I also love what you have written and I could learn from alot of it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This thought has occurred to me also.


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