(HOST) Commentator Rich Nadworny has spent the last week thinking about holidays and stories.
(NADWORNY) One my favorite parts of the Passover holiday is the tradition of storytelling. In fact, the entire holiday is based on the premise of retelling the story of the Exodus to new generations, so that we never forget it. How many holidays focus on telling stories, rather than celebrating events?
It makes me think of the stories from my family. When I was a kid, I always forced my parents to tell me tales about when they were kids. I couldn’t get enough of them. Now that I have kids, I’m continually telling and retelling them my old stories, as well as those of my parents.
It’s also got me thinking: As we get older and pass away, are we most afraid that our own story is ending? Or do we not want to miss how the story ends for our kids and grandchildren? I think we want to know how they’ll end up; we want to see what becomes of them. We long to see if an unsuspecting relative carries on our genes, quirks and foibles. Our story never really ends as long as the next generation keeps it alive.
Think about Moses. He was made to stand up to Pharaoh, to lead his people out of Egypt, and then to wander around the desert for 40 years, eating flakes from above. And just when he got to the Promised Land, he couldn’t come in. Moses, who was such an integral part of the story, never got to see how the story ended. Even though his own story was spectacular, I always wondered how disappointed he was in the end.
My dad’s story ended way too soon. He never lived see my kids, leaving the scene before their stories even began. But as my kids grow up, I tell and retell stories of my dad so that in a very real way, he’s alive and part of our family. My kids feel as if they know him, so much are his stories part of our everyday life. We tell his jokes, laugh at his stories, and event point out to each other when we’re acting like him. It still doesn’t make up for him not being there, but it’s the next best thing
The traditions of story telling are what make us human. They bring us together and help us create common bonds. They connect us not only to the past, but also to the future.
So, as Passover winds down, it begs the question: what stories are you telling your kids, or parents for that matter? What family legacies do you have, or need to create, to connect your generations to each other? We all have them.
Maybe Moses didn’t get to see how the story turned out, but we’re still telling his story 3,000 years later.
If the next thing each of us does is turn around and tell a story to someone close to us – and if we make it a good one – it might just keep us connected for a very long time.
(TAG) You can find more commentaries by Rich Nadworny at VPR-dot-net.