By Contributing Writer Danee Riggs
It’s Black History month. I love reading about and being reminded of all of the amazing contributions that my people have made to the world. Yes, black history is American History and while there are those that feel this reason alone negates the need for a ‘Black History Month’ (yes, some black folks feel this way), it can’t be denied that this designated month reminds the majority to reflect and remember.
Still, is it too much to ask that while we revere our beloved historical figures, we also remember those that have affected our more immediate history? I’m talking about our grand and great grandparents.
It’s more than a little disturbing to see the trend of disassociation between our young people and our elders. Many of us can remember a time when grandparents were revered, honored and respected- regardless of whose grandparents they were. Over bubbling pots and on front porches/stoops, grandmothers told vivid and emotional stories that can’t be found in any history books. Our young boys learned how to be men and care for families on fishing trips or in barbershops with pop-pop. This happened in my generation and yet, I am fearful and saddened that many of today’s young folks are missing out on these experiences.
I could pull statistics or run down my (long) list of reasons why I think this disassociation is occurring. Instead I only wish to encourage folks to do what you can to engage and support, thereby honoring the elders in our community. Even the ones not related to you because technically, they belong to all of us. And if you are blessed enough to still have your grand/great grandparents around, let me remind you of the wealth of wisdom and knowledge you have at your fingertips! Visit them with your children and your friends! Recently, we’ve had more snow across the fifty states than we’ve had in years. This presents a perfect opportunity to check in on a grandparent or an older neighbor. Offer to shovel or grab groceries and – here’s the kicker- don’t rush off to the next task. Sit for awhile. Nine times out of ten, they’ll appreciate the interest and the knowledge (and oft time hilarious stories) you’ll gain in return? Priceless.