An avid Flair Fe-Mail Ties reader, once chided me for undervaluing the youth of today. Just shy of her 20th birthday, she lamented the fact that I almost always place more value on generations gone by and traditions of old, and more often criticise modernity. Her stance was that young people today are doing the best they can and that they should be applauded for the strides they're making in these challenging times.
As the first few days of the New Year roll by, her words echo in my mind. Word is that New Year resolutions are démodé; but nonetheless, the end of the year is certainly a pause point where it makes sense to stop to evaluate where we've come, in preparation for where we are going.
Amid the celebrations, I observed many well-intentioned people planting new seeds of hopes and dreams for the future. As the struck 12 on New Year's Eve, showers poured down on Johannesburg. As the good-wish SMS messages came in, many prayed that the rain would wash away all the bad memories of 2008, rinsing the slate clean for a new day. If you could start all over again, what would you change? How would you operate in the new day without the lessons of yesteryear? I always look to the past in affirmation of choices that I can make today with a view of tomorrow.
A few days into the new year, I hosted the first 'Earthseed Matriarch Dialogues' for 2009, where a group of Jamaican mothers and daughters gathered to talk about their evolution as women. As the circles of life from daughter to grandmothers spin, we searched for anchors which grounded our life evolution as women in the 21st century. These were always found in the past.
As we explored various facets of the journey to womanhood, we squirmed as our mothers shared with us how they handled their 'monthly' bulky squares of white cotton unimaginable in today's high-tech age of G-string shaped sanitary towels complete with wings!
As we considered the indignity of the public exposure of the squares on the washing line, we noted with reverence the dignity with which they shared their memories. We saw the joy in their faces as they described some of the tougher moments and the skills they have honed into nuggets of wisdom that only age and experience can bring.
So when we, 'matriarchs-in-training', some now mothers, spoke of our journey to womanhood, we all noted with interest the cyclical nature of life. Our challenges were their challenge, a different era, a different solution - or so some thought. We saw that from mother to daughter, those seeds of hope sometimes only blossomed a generation later.
So as we attempt to wash our troubles away, take time for a moment to consider the valuable insights those who have walked before us can offer. Take time to consider also that those bad experiences are the seeds which flower into your personal evolution. So let it rain and nurture but not wash away the seeds planted in celebration of life.