Today, September 27, provides the perfect excuse to call your grandparents— it is Ancestor Appreciation Day! This national holiday was founded to encourage folks to honor their heritage and learn more about their genealogy. Whether that means exploring your family tree on websites like Ancestry.com, or sitting down with a relative and reminiscing over family stories, learning about your family’s history can help you feel more connected in a world where connectedness can be hard to come by.
Take a look at the 2015 film, The Nightingale directed by Philippe Muyl. This dramatic tale set in rural China tells the story of an iPad addicted city girl, Ren Xing (Xin Yi Yang), who is placed in the care of her Grandfather Zhu Zhi Gen (Li Baotian). The duo sets out on a journey through the Chinese countryside in search of his former home in a remote village.
Initially, Ren Xing appears spoiled and aloof; only concerned with playing games on her devices and tormenting her grandfather. Ren goes through a transformation of sorts when her devices finally lose battery. She effectively “wakes up” and becomes aware and mindful of her immediate surroundings. This allows her relationship with her grandfather to evolve and deepen, and she begins to develop a genuine reverence for his life experience and the considerable wisdom he has to offer.
Sound familiar? With the ubiquity of technology and devices that constantly keep us “connected” to our friends, we run the risk of ignoring those who physically surround us. Let National Ancestor Appreciation Day inspire you to get back to your roots and focus on where you come from. Have a conversation with a parent, grandparent, or relative to learn a little bit more about your personal history. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”