Thursday, January 5, 2012

Roots and Ruts

We need to think on a broader plane, we need to do more than we're doing.

Siobhan Davies
Hello Arlene
I have roots. I have roots on the Nebraska plains and in the cities of Tennessee. I have roots among the pioneers and in the United States Military. And I have roots in the entertainment industry. Both my mother and my grandmother were performers. I have a distant relative who was a country music singer, he and his band performed at the Grand Ole Opry in the 20's. I have another distant relative who was a general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. My father was a high ranking officer in the Army and fought in the First World War. He married an actress. I have roots.

It's not unusual for men to follow in their father's footsteps, into a family business or to take up a trade related to where they come from and who their family is. My dentist comes from a long line of dentists, it's like the family business. In some countries it isn't unusual for a son or daughter to take over the reins of government from a father, as we have just seen in North Korea.

It is surely a valuable thing to know what one's roots are, what culture one has come from and how one's ancestors and family lived. But there is another side to that practice. I had a roommate in college for a while who was from India. His father's business was mining: oil and precious metals. His father sent him to the US to study Geology so he could go back to India and assist his father in the business. But when he got to college he changed his major to History. When his father found out he cut off all the funds that were paying for his son's education. The son wanted to branch out, to be a more important person in the Indian government and society, which he eventually did. He didn't want to spend his life digging in the earth for things the way his father had all his life. He wanted to think on a broader plane.

I don't know if he ever harmonized things with his father but his story marks up a potential risk for anyone who takes his identity solely from his roots and thinks he has to do something because that's what the family has always done and therefore it's expected of him.. Those are dangerous ruts that many people fall into. And the result is often wishing that one had spent his life doing something else, something he was interested in way back at the beginning.

I spent my working life as an entertainer. But I'm glad to say I chose it over a lot of other options that were open to me. And it wasn't expected of me by my family. In fact I was discouraged from it by some members. But I persevered and never did I feel I was in the rut of repeating my family's history. No one was paying my way so I felt no obligation to do as I was told. And the end result was that I got to thinking about things in an original way and doing more than I was expected to do and that I expected from myself.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up
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Jon said...

The most important thing is to find the roots within ourselves, our own voices. The road to personal happiness (or contentment) is doing whatever is in our hearts.

Geo. said...

I was always told to find a job I didn't mind too much. Retirement came close but, at 62, I am still looking. At least I don't have to make sense all the time anymore. Must be getting closer!

pacifica62 said...

I really have no historical knowledge of my roots other than back one generation or two at most. You must have a very good sense of who you are and where you came from. I think we need to do what is right for us, even if it takes us a while to find it. Admirable that some companies or businesses have carried on through the generations. Every once in a while you hear of someone crawling out of their rut and finally doing something that they really love.