Having Roots

The roots of a tree keep it standing firmly. Rains and winds buffet against it and yet it stands firm. The roots go deep down into the ground and, not only hold it firmly in place, but also nourish it with life-giving water.

Having strong roots, a firm foundation, in one’s life is important. It keeps one grounded; and sure in the knowledge of one’s beliefs and morals when buffeted by the experiences of society. When thinking of personal roots, one often thinks of family background, of history, of where one’s family has originated. But in our modern society I tend to think that our roots are more than that.

English: Showing ones roots These massive root...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Both my parents left the country of their birth. I was brought up in a land that they came to love, but a land n which their parents and siblings had no roots. They had been uprooted (one through his own choice, another because of the choices made by her father). My husband and I have done the same. We have uprooted ourselves from the country of my birth (and that of our children), to plant ourselves in the earth found on the other side of the world.

Does growing up in a different country mean that my children have no roots? They may not have the stability that comes from seeing their extended family often; or the knowledge gained from growing up in the same environment that I did. But the roots that secure them are the ones made from love; and the ones that are forming as they become integrated into the Canadian society. They learn by word of mouth the history and family background of both me and my husband; and have taken the journey with us to visit some of the physical places of their roots.

But their strength and stability comes from the place where they are now; and from the knowledge they have that they are loved for who they are in the present and not for where their ancestors were born.

Have the roots of your family been firmly planted for generations? Or have you also experienced replanting in another country?

(Join me in the Five Minute Friday Challenge hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker. Participants write for 5 minutes with no editing, no over thinking, and no backtracking. This week’s prompt is: Roots)

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38 thoughts on “Having Roots

  1. Living in Australia, pretty much means being from somewhere else. I remember a conversation at Uni, where someone pointed out that we mostly refer to ourselves as if we belong to another country. My mothers family have been here for generations, well it is a new country sort of, we are only 200 and a bit. My fathers family came here when he was 10. It is a similar story you hear everywhere here. We all came from somewhere else, except for the indigenous population. Once again an interesting topic, you will get some interesting responses I am sure.

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  2. My family has been rooted here for a few generations. The family came from Poland in the late 1800s it seems, but there is no information about life before the United States. As a language teacher, I insist that my students and their families retain their language and seek to preserve their roots even though they have been transplanted. I know what it’s like to lose a language (and have to try as an adult to restore that to the family line – it’s hard!).
    Love your post today!
    Happy Friday!

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    1. Yes, it is hard to keep the language – and even the culture. In trying to fit in and create new roots, we have to sometimes let go of our traditions and try to embrace new ones.
      I wish you a wonderful Friday too 🙂

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  3. As for me, I recently moved to a different country so I can’t say that my roots are planted in actual soil. However, I’m passionate about history and that helps me stay rooted.

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  4. My father replanted himself from Hong Kong to Australia. Interestingly later on his mother and older sister followed him there. I have replanted myself from Australia to England. I also find that my strength and stability comes from where I am now, although I do feel the pull of familial roots back home. It is difficult sometimes.

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    1. I agree, it is difficult at times as you feel the pull of the ones you love. Even though I have settled in a new country there are times when I yearn to be in the place of my birth. Not because the land calls me, but because of the people I yearn to see and touch.

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  5. Interesting post Colline! My grandfather and grandmother were the immigrants and they hailed from the Channel Islands/Normandy, french speaking, and Wales, English speaking. After they arrived here, they would not speak french at all, unfortuneately so I have only a fundamental and basic understanding of the french language. I yearn to know more about my roots as other immigrants do, yet, we seem to have melded into the landscape as settlers!

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  6. This remains a difficult issue. To me, more than ever right now, as my daughter is about to pull up her roots and replant herself somewhere far, far away… It’s hard, and will be even harder should they have kids there… I do think it’s sad that the fact that it’s so easy to relocate these days, bread up families and make kids grow up without aunts, uncles and grandparents.

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    1. I agree – it is hard. But that is the way of the world at the moment with the world made smaller by modern technology. Happily that same technology does allow one to still keep in contact with ease.

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  7. Hi Colline! I enjoyed this post very much. My husband’s family have deeply-planted roots. They have been farming on this farm for a hundred years this year. They finally had enough to buy the farm in 1918. Our son is pushing out roots here now, as he joined my husband as Farm Manager in September. It is incredible to think how much has gone into this land in terms of love and time!
    Roots are wonderful to have, but sometimes not possible. My husbands early career had us move 19 times in 12 years! We had broken furniture, a wardrobe full of different school uniforms and kids who had short-term friendships unfortunately, although it meant they made friends easily. However they had the security and “air-roots” if you like, firmly wrapped around our family unit. It has made us a close-knit family, who enjoy being together, and have great times together. So our roots weren’t traditional, but just as anchoring, supportive and nourishing 🙂

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience with us Charlene. You have experienced having roots in the traditional sense as well as the modern experience. Interesting that your family have managed to combine both.

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  8. I guess my roots will always be in England, where I was born and brought up, but at the moment, I live in two countries, and have family scattered in many countries. It’s difficult sometimes to feel grounded.

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  9. Not from my country, but from my hometown certainly, and the thought of losing our language is a constant worry! (We and the children, live in cities that don’t speak our language)

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