As people in the modern world, we can often divorce ourselves from the vast amount of incredible history that has come before us, at least perceptually. People these days seem less interested in preserving their family lines, or names, or keeping up with the traditions of the past. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing or something to criticize, it’s just different. However, sometimes passing down your knowledge and wisdom can feel tempting as a parent, and we begin to think of our family line. If this happens to you, it only makes sense to look in the opposite direction and try to consider what life was like for those before us, or to consider those standing artifacts and stories that may have passed down your family line – even adding to this story yourself.
Perhaps the most visceral and exciting elements we can often see is that of heirlooms. But what is the real definition of an heirloom? What is the value of an heirloom? In this article, we hope to explore and answer those questions:
One of the main purposes of an heirloom is to transmit history. The funny thing is that this might not have even been the main intention to begin with, but heirlooms are historical no matter what. Even being passed down only one generation can mean plenty for the person receiving it, as it’s an artifact from a previous life, something that was owned, cherished and thought worthy of survival. An heirloom can teach us many things about the history of our family, especially the person who passed it down, or the person from which its meaning sprang. For example, an old watch picked up in Germany during one of the world wars could become a real item of true historical importance, as the significance of its surroundings are hard to question.
Heirlooms will often come coupled with their own stories. These stories can be passed down from generation to generation detailing the reason for the heirloom’s significance, the context behind it, and the story told to them as they received it. This might not be a long story, it might not be detailed, and it might become somewhat exaggerated or slightly muddled over time. However, the heirloom will always be present and always true in its existence, so you may enjoy a real sense of comfort knowing it’s in your possession. You may not be able to speak to your great Grandfather any long, but owning and caring for his watch may help you preserve him in spirit.
People who pass on an heirloom will often enjoy that item and think it worth preserving. One of the main reasons for this will be pride. Heirlooms are not often things that the owner wishes to be rid of. Let’s continue with the World War example. It might be that the watch, bible, dog tags your relative was in possession of made the list, but another artifact they were in possession of were not.
This is because heirlooms give us the chance to show who we are, what we thought about ourselves, how we identified, and what we wish our family to know about us. This means that most often, pride is the largest motivator, not in a negative light, but in an inspirational and thankful manner. This means that if you hope to curate your own heirloom to pass down, you might think of crafting things that mean something to you. For example, ChallengeCoins4Less offer a wide range of crafted regiment coins to honor your service to share among your division, but it also serves as a durable and long-standing item you may one day want to pass down, along with the stories of your service.
People often make a deep issue of pride, but it’s no sin to feel satisfied with your achievements. Who knows, passing these stories down could inspire many of your future generations to come. With an heirloom you’re proud of, you may start that ball rolling now.
Character & Lessons
An heirloom can also teach a lesson. For example, letters and diaries depicting the struggles of a relative can hold emotional weight to them long after they pass. A preserved journal of ideas and thoughts on life could do the same thing. A loving message to future generations you will never meet might be a good idea. An inscription on a piece of jewelry with an intended message at the other end could be considered quite a wonderful thing to pass down. It might be a coat of arms for your family can help you establish your name and give your future relatives a unifying idea to band behind.
Heirlooms aren’t only reminders, they can be lovingly instructive for our later family line. The emotional depth of something received long after your passing is hard to ignore for the recipient, so be sure you craft your message with care. Who knows, a positive word might just hit someone at the right time, helping your goodwill long outlive you.
All of this has proved quite serious so far. Talk of intense pride, important emotions and long-standing history can be quite tiring if spoken of for some time. Remember, heirlooms can also be fun, kind, loving and positive. You might pass down a silly joke book that you always cherished in your childhood, or a piece of jewelry you owned in childhood. You might pass on a book of your drawings, or a binding of your first paintings before moving onto your professional artistic life. A little fun hurt no one, and a small heirloom can be a message of joy and positive thinking, putting a smile on the face of generations to come. It’s not always essential to be so-self serious about the heirlooms you send. Sometimes, you simply want to be remembered for the levity in your life.
Heirlooms can serve many functions. You’ll only know how to project your most desired meaning after some careful forethought. With this humble article, we hope to hae helped the ball start rolling.