Choose Connection #RootsTech

Goodness, Do you mind pushing pause while I wipe my eyes – again.

The #rootstech #chooseconnection music video touched my heart, brought tears to my eyes, and reminded me of the importance of family history and of the girls who are one of the main reasons I do what I do.

Maybe the idea of choosing connections brings tears to my eyes in part because the reality is too often family members choose to remember the time someone said something to someone somewhere that somehow was hurtful. Too often they choose to camp on that moment, rehearsing the offense throughout their lives, rather than choosing to connect. When a generation chooses to disconnect, there is no replacement for that loss.

I am the oldest of four girls. There are 12 years between us so our experiences within our home vary. I grew up playing with cousins; having sleepovers; visiting relatives who had moved away; having older cousins babysit; sharing birthdays, picnics, fried chicken, pimento cheese, deviled eggs, and watermelon. I recall sitting side by side with my cousins as watermelon juice ran down our sun-baked arms, spitting seeds into the yard. (We had “yards”, not tightly manicured, non-native grassy “lawns”. A few watermelon seeds weren’t going to hurt a thing.)

I remember spending the night (nights? I don’t recall) with my aunt who was an elementary school teacher. This was probably when my first sister was born. It was a school day but I wasn’t in school yet so my aunt took me to school with her and I spent the day in her classroom.

I remember her teaching the children colors, reading, writing. I remember feeling so grown up in the classroom. But mostly I remember driving to the school. Her full, gathered skirt buttoned up the front and as we drove to school, just a glimpse of her red petticoat peeked out. Of everything I did that day while under the care of my aunt, what I remember most is that little peek of the hem of a red petticoat.

The middle girls didn’t have any of that. And by the time the baby girl was born, nearly all our extended family connections had been severed. By choice.

In Church News, Jonathan Wing, the composer of the song, says “…connection is not all about the past. ‘It’s about the present and the connections we make to one another.'” It also has a goal of helping people recognize they have a choice. “‘We … wanted to hone in on the … ability the people have to choose connection over division.'”

Indeed. If there is no other takeaway from RootsTech 2022, it would be this: Choose Connection.