Bruce Feiler, a popular American author writing about finding happiness and meaning in everyday life, found that when a team of psychologists measured children’s resilience, kids who knew the most about their family’s history were best able to handle stress.
Rediscovering our family history in Italy began well before my first trip in 1999 to visit our cousins in Milan.
Our Nonna left Italy in 1919 and like many Italian immigrants circumstances of time and place, marriage and family caused her to travel to the United States with her husband. But her heart was still in the Veneto and the oral traditions of her life in Italy were kept alive through wars and liberations, births and deaths with letters and pictures, money and presents exchanged creating a family bond that would take me on a series of trips to see and savor an Italy of family and friends that have enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined.
I encourage you to discover and curate your family’s history here and if possible abroad. The importance of developing an “intergenerational self” will create a legacy of self-worth that your children, grandchildren and extended family members will benefit from in ways you cannot imagine. The spirit of family with stories of personalities from the past and a shared sense of tradition is worth finding. The 21st century has been called the age of post- familialism where family treasures are more often found on e-bay than handed down and thoughtfully cared for. Whether through places, people, objects or the generational recipes of our grandparents, the pleasure of the family is a lost art that must once again be found.