Time, and the Oral Tradition

 

This post is inspired by my eldest daughter’s 6th birthday party. In truth, it’s the second 6th birthday party we’ve given her, in part because we were busy on her actual birthday and in part because she’s our first child
and like many parents,
we don’t know
if there’s ever really enough doting on our children we can do…

Every year, on their respective birthdays, I like to recount the stories of their births to my daughters
(as the only credible eye-witness).

I like to tell them
of their mother’s bravery
and tenacity,
affirming to them
that their admiration of her is well-placed.

I like to tell them
of their own personal good fortune
in overcoming obstacles
to arrive safely in this world,
and the sacred lesson to be gleaned and extrapolated from shedding the umbilical cord and replacing it with mouth and lungs.

My favorite part of their birth stories
is recounting the first moments that I or their mother got to (finally) hold them in our arms, close to our hearts.
I tell them about how indescribably full of joy and love we were at their simply being...
Still are.
Each time I tell it, I hope they will become infused with a deeper understanding of why we will always think of them each, in part,
as the same infant we laid eyes upon the first day they drew breath.

I tell my children the stories of their birth
in part because I am their father
and I want them to have the best possible idea
of how much they are loved
by me and by their mother.
But I also tell them
because I don’t know the story of my birth.
In fact, I know very little of any of my history that would qualify as family history — passable only by the oral tradition.

As it turns out, having a strong oral tradition in one’s family lends to better clinical and educational outcomes —
higher levels of self-esteem and greater interest and success in impacting one’s own paths in life.

Our stories make us more resilient, stronger.
The more proficient we are at sharing our stories with one another, the more life-capable we become.

The work that I do every day directly impacts the lives of the very people I do it for.
I’m fortunate that that work is distilled down to
the ability to tell stories
and to communicate who my clients are,
who their companies are,
and what kinds of relationships they want to have with their own clientele.

I’d be silly to say I’m as proud of that as I am proud to be my children’s father…
But I’m incredibly proud of my clients,
whose stories are still being woven
through the fabric of our time.

 
David Allen-Lawrence