By Ashley Corbaley
I do not live far from Houston and Hurricane Harvey hit much too close to home. As word that Harvey had turned from a tropical storm to a Category 3 hurricane, then a Category 4, panic spread throughout my town. I went to the store to find the shelves completely bare. Bottled water, batteries and quick snack food was scarce. The entire town seemed to shut down as everyone went home to their families to prepare for the storm. Thankfully, my city was not terribly affected by the hurricane. Other areas were not so lucky.
A few days after Hurricane Harvey hit I was at the store when a lady approached and asked me where the swim suits were. As I tried to locate the swim suits so I could point her in the right direction she mentioned that she had not been here before and that she was from Rockport, a coastal Texas town not far from Houston that took a direct and devastating hit. We went our separate ways through the store but something began nagging me to go find her. When I finally mustered up the courage to talk to her I discovered that she had lost her home in the hurricane and was living in a shelter in my town. Everything was gone. She was sad as she told me all the things that she would miss about her home but tears did not fill her eyes until she told me what she would miss the most: the precious, homemade items her grandchildren had given her. “Those things cannot be replaced,” she told me.
This caused me to reflect on the things that I could not replace. If I lost everything tomorrow, what would I be most devastated about? Precious keepsakes with wonderful memories and family heirlooms would be the things I would miss the most.
In a summer of 2001 study, four dozen families had their dinner conversations recorded and analyzed. The results were then compared to several psychological tests that concluded:
“The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem, and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”
Knowing that they belong to something bigger than themselves helps children to find a sense of self-worth and belonging. Family heirlooms can to serve as physical reminders and teach of their family heritage. However, there may be times when material possessions, even those of great value may become lost to us. It is in times like these that we continue to press onward and hold fast to our memories of those heirlooms and our knowledge of our family history.
The lady at the store expressed gratitude that her family was safe. Her family was what mattered most to her. In the wake of the Hurricane Harvey panic everyone gathered to their homes to be with their loved ones. That is what was most important to people. It shouldn’t take a hurricane to remind us what is most important in life. It shouldn’t take a hurricane for us to remember the importance of family. May we use this example and national experience as a reminder to make family, our family history, and teaching our children their family’s history a priority, for that is what matters most.