My childhood home
is situated in the village of Hästbacka in the Terjärv parish.
My parents moved there in 1888 and built a small house in the Smedjebacka
homestead during 1888-89.
That site has a
vast view overlooking the village with its fields and rather magnificent
hills. One can even follow the tranquil river's winding turns for
kilometers on its journey through the green meadows. Here I had experienced
my happy childhood. My father ran a small country store, combining
that with farming. Even though we were many children who had to have
food and clothing, our parents managed relatively well, considering
the conditions and needs of those times. We had good parents and a
good home, which we always longed to visit, even after we were self-supporting
and had established our own homes.
between children and parents was always good, as well as among the
siblings. Even now, though we have flown the nest, has any disagreement
marred the close relationship among the siblings as established in
the home. That this feeling grew strong through the influence of good
parents, I can best describe by citing a letter I found after father's
death. In 19O8 he built a new store with an office and on the second
floor a "gathering room" for the family.
Since he, in this
letter, with no word mentions the new business facility, I assume
that he considered a happy, shared considerate family life more important
than "gathering in the barns". My father had not attended even grade
school, because there was none then in the village. He had a beautiful
handwriting and through self-education obtained an abundance of knowledge
in widely varying subjects.
The letter reads
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
I sit today - a
Sunday - contemplating my half finished new dwelling, which will contain
a heated room on the upper floor. The thoughts wander to a long harbored
wish to make this a room for the family to gather. May this be our
"gathering room" where we together will be able to exchange views
of the experiences of life, both in the material and spiritual world.
The need for a
closer understanding of each other within the family, in these social
times, is clear. The young get enthusiastic and are cradled in the
different maelstroms of life, both good and bad, healthy and harmful,
for body and soul. The elder in the family, who, in accordance with
the laws of nature, are more conservative - with a narrower, older
view of things - often have a difficult time comprehending and appreciating
the justification of all the new ideas, because of the reason that
the older ones have passed their development phase, i. e. experienced
their youth and won a certain perception of the wisdom of life, as
well as learned the value of life, and realized that not everything
that glitters in the fantasies of youth is gold. Only a small percent
of the carats, which are contained therein, are real. These differences
in viewpoints, it appears to me, should already within the home and
family be settled to the extent possible in order to be applied in
the practical life. All achievement must have a reason (inner conviction)
to gain understanding.
Every society requires
cooperation among its members to attain the goals of the society.
The state requires loyal and cooperating citizens. How important,
for this reason, is cooperation in the home, which must lay the foundation
for all civic and spiritual life. If this is neglected - which often
is the case - the reasons and consequences are clear. The family members
find no compassion for each other and consequently cannot act in consonance
with each other. The outcome will be disagreements and fights. Initially
in thoughts; thoughts give birth to words and reap action.
Going back to my
reflections about the half finished new building, I wish we would
reach a higher plane in this warm attic room, here we could bring
our higher and warmer thoughts to be exchanged. The elders' thoughts
to possibly rejuvenate, and the youngers' to mature. The thought itself
in neither young nor old. It is eternal - immortal, though always
new. But sowed, it gives birth to action, good or evil.
May we learn to
live a life in real unity. To now and then isolate the thought from
the everyday; its struggles and worries for tomorrow, taking one day
at a time, as it is us given. Share its pleasures and pains in common
understanding among young and old.
Let us remember,
when we look down from our new attic window over the hills and vales,
that we are no higher beings. Let us turn our eye toward the height
from where the all-seeing eye, in its mercy, looks down upon us, searching
out the innermost thoughts in our hearts.
May He lead and
teach us to think and live the real family life!