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Knowing your Roots

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Think of a tree. It could be big or small, and it could have heart-shaped leaves or oval-shaped ones. Any tree. Now think of the things that all trees have in common…trees have roots, branches, leaves and they grow. Perhaps this is why diagrams of trees are used to illustrate, record and trace members of a family, through generations. 

Family trees are helpful in identifying and getting familiar with members of your family that you may not be aware of otherwise. Whether you have a small or large family, it’s always good to know of your family members from both your parents’ sides. If you’ve never drawn your family tree before, it’s not too late to do so now…ask your parents for their family lineage and get started!

Knowing your roots doesn’t only mean knowing who your great grandfathers and second cousins are. It also means knowing your culture and the elements that make up said culture. These elements include your food, clothing, language, history, art, dance, music, beliefs and traditions. It is important for you to know your culture and heritage for many reasons such as these:

  • Learning and practising your culture is a way of preserving it. If generations before you did not do the same, then you wouldn’t have any culture to continue preserving at all. Cultures are rich and full of history and it wouldn’t be right to just throw this away, so learn that language that you always hear your mum or grandma speak, and read more about the history of your people. 
  • Knowing your roots and culture brings you closer to your family. Visiting places that are significant to your culture helps with this. This could be your hometown, village, or cultural places in your place of origin such as museums or historical sites.
  • It also gives you a sense of identity. Having a name and surname is cool, but knowing that you’re part of a specific group of people of the same culture gives you a sense of belonging and identity. When you know more about your culture, you know that you have that factor that identifies you as who you are.
  • Learning about your culture is also entertaining. I don’t know about you, but discovering the origin of a particular type of cultural food sounds interesting to me! This, as well as many other aspects of culture have stories that span over generations. Asides this, elements such as music, dance and art are great sources of entertainment, and you get to learn more about your culture too!

An important thing to note is that cultures can be lost over time if they are not preserved. By learning about your roots, culture and heritage, you are preserving your culture, so start somewhere today. Know your roots. 

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