Being part of something or someone is what makes us feel connected as humans. When we look at history, especially slave history, we are told the slave masters took away the identity of the people captured. One by taking away the names they had from they respective countries, secondly by taking away their dignity and thirdly separating families to work on different plantation. Children have joined gang groups just because they want to feel connected, identified and relevant to something. They want to know they are loved and their contribution has substance. Am I saying being part of a gang is good, on the contrary, however the feelings and rewards these children get from the group makes it possible for them to risk all.
I recently went on a trip and I got reconnected with my roots. I had stories of my great grand parents, what they accomplished and the impacts they made in their community. This made me feel part of something great, exciting and important. Although I was not there in history, the stories told made me connected, relevant and wowed. I felt important! I understand Oprah Winfrey traced her root to part of west Africa and Chris Rock tracing his to northern Cameroon. Not sure how true these stories are but one thing it tells me is that, the ability to connect and belong is what makes us important.
As parents we need to tell our children stories of who they are, where they come from or belong to. I understand some stories may not be nice tales, however, there is always some good in the bad. Despite the bad press and rumours about gypsies in the UK, I am surprised at how proud they are to belong to the community (A TV show was made about their lifestyle). The culture and heritage of the Red Indians of America is almost lost and forgotten because stories are not being passed from one generation to the next. Regardless of your cultural background, ethnicity, country, continent, colour, race, religion share those stories with your child of how grandma use to make the soup in a particular way or why a particular colour has to be worn on their wedding day. Pass the stories down, let them belong and feel connected to some thing important.