Thinking about family legacies led me to this Indian pearl “all the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”
My giant sunflowers which bloomed beautifully to fill a rather empty but sun-filled space in our front yard are ending their cycle. I cut off their heads (must have manned a guillotine in a past life) to preserve the seeds and was curious to see where the sunflower seeds were stashed, turns out, it’s not that mysterious. When the sunflower is good and ready it will happily peel apart and give you its many seeds to plant next summer to continue the cycle.
Families are like sunflowers, when you are ready and have children, you tend to them (hopefully) to many happy returns. They are the seeds to your family’s future.
It’s natural to want to create a child in your own image, I mean, that’s what God did.
You rear your child based on who you are, where you came from and what you know. My husband and I take dibs on the character traits we see in our children – oh that’s me, he’s mine to finger pointing “yours” and “that’s all you!!”
With the seeds planted, your children will grow into their future. This may be strikingly similar or vastly different from your perhaps jaded crystal ball. Fate has veto power.
Think of the film, “Forrest Gump”, particularly, Lieutenant Dan. Every single one of his forefathers has fought and died in a war so it seemed he too would follow and die a hero in the battlefield. It was to be his legacy. Enter Forrest Gump, the idiot who “saved” his life and carried him off to an unexpected journey as a disabled war veteran turned king of the Shrimping world.
The Road Less Traveled
Do you go into the family business or strike out on your own?
Many children wrestle with this decision. Their loyalty questioned. Dreams of independence squashed. The foreign notion of there existing an alternate reality may be either a scary or welcome haven.
Children often “settle” into their family's business. Some with a sense of entitlement. Why work so hard when you know there's a corner office with your name on it and a plush trust fund? Others use this as fuel to do things better, surpass their parents, prove their worth and make it theirs.
I hail from a long line of distributors, one the one side are soft drink distributors and on the other were meat distributors (butcher’s meat) so it’s only natural that I carry on the distribution aspect, Mommas Pearls style of course, I distribute films and content. Different but similar.
The Family Shadow
Every family has a shadow, some loom large and others require squinting. Are you comfortable standing in your family’s shadow? Is it a shadow or a light?
When you finally see that your family is a small fish in a crazy gigantic pond, you begin to wonder what else is in my blood? Your children will wonder the same thing. That's probably why parents want the next generation to have and be more.
If you are in Don Corleone’s family, the only way to do business is with your family. Which is why Don’s confession to his son Michael that he never wanted this life for him is so perplexing, he envisioned his son as the “one to hold the string….. Senator Corleone” (The Godfather). Not even Doc Brown can find this possible future.
There are days when I see a 3 generation mom and pop store or my friends who work with their families and wonder what that would be like. My family are my soul partners and always have my back but could I really picture answering to my father on a work related issue. Lord no!!
In a family business, you sink or swim together. If your family business goes under, the whole family goes with it.
My family's shadow passes between the Holocaust, Depression and Beverages. Thanks for the hand me down and yes, I'll take a drink!
What’s in a Name?
Your bloodline is encoded with the legacies of your ancestors, which the generations carry forward.
Back in old Europe and many caste systems, your family name defined who you were and exactly where you stayed. Your name was synonymous to your title. Hi, I'm the son of Lord Baron. The next generation would rise higher or fall down the ranks. Your family’s wealth was tied to your land and passed to the male heirs. So much vested in a name.
A new kind of dynamic is happening now as women are keeping their maiden names. Yet, traditionally, without a “male heir” a family name will not continue. Many father’s desperately want a son for this reason alone, to carry on the family name.
I was at a bris and the Mohel said to the newborn son “you are to carry on the family name, but also to make a name for yourself.”
So many children of Hollywood run away screaming or drown in their family’s name. A great tale of witnessing this and grappling with your family shadow is in my longtime client, friend and mentor Stephen Simon’s book “Bringing Back the Old Hollywood”. He relished in his parents Hollywood hobnob shadow but was so removed from reality that is, until, reality smacked him in the face (a few times).
A Greater Dynasty
The future always holds promise.
From the outside the great Family Dynasty's heiresses – Kennedy's, Rockefellers, Trumps, Mannings, Boones, Jacksons, Coppolas, Hudsons, Sheens, Kardashians, Carringtons… may seem to have it made, I mean, I used to wish I was born into the McDonald’s family, but the larger the shadow the greater the pressure to measure up.
When you pick off the fruits of your parents tree is it really your fruit to take? Will Smith answered his son’s question of “dad, are we rich?”, with “Mom and dad are rich, you’re broke.”
The fruits you hand down the generational line shall either ripen or die off, be sour or sweet, be cultivated or left on the vine, or be encoded into your family crest. With these family trials your coat of arms gains its shapes, symbols and motto.
Yet a new dynasty forever remains in the seeds of tomorrow. 🙂
Originally posted by Mommas Pearls. Copyright © 2010 Cynthia Litman d/b/a Tigris Imprints. All Rights Reserved.