The Search For Deep Truths . . . From a Soap Opera?

Okay, we don’t normally expect to learn profound philosophies in daytime television.  Normally we tune in to escape a bit, or to watch a show with characters whose lives seem more chaotic than our own.

I admit to being legitimately moved, however, when I was catching up last week on episodes of The Young and the Restless, a soap I’ve tuned into here and there since I was a teenager.  Normally the plot lines are rather ridiculous (long lost twins who suddenly appear, people with no credentials working at high-power jobs, etc.).  But on a recent episode involving the appearance of a long-lost relative, I took my thumb off the fast-forward button to watch a scene that resonated with me.

In the scene, two members of the Abbotts were welcoming into the family a young man, Theo, who they had just learned was biologically related to their mother.  They invited him over for a pre-Christmas get-together, just the three of them.  What could have been a pretty awkward gathering turned into a warm and touching event.  Why and how?  The older Abbotts presented the young man with a book they had recently written about the history of the family.  They said that the stories in the book would help connect him to the people he now knew to be his relatives.

Stories.  Family connection.  Kin keeping.  I couldn’t look away.

Then if that weren’t moving enough, the three of them walked over to the huge and handsomely decorated Christmas tree.  As Theo pointed to each heirloom bauble, the other two told him the story behind it:  who had made it, when it was purchased, what thoughts came to their minds each year as they hung it on the tree.


Later, Theo told the others about the Christmases he’d celebrated with the family he’d grown up in.  They listened attentively, and enjoyed the traditional biscuits he’d brought over to share.

Yes, the DNA test (a soap opera staple) had confirmed their shared biological ancestry.  But it was the stories—and most importantly, the sharing of those stories—that began to connect them as family.

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      The Kin Keepers are those family members who know all the family’s stories, and pass them along to the next generations.  They remember the birthdays, plan the celebrations, and make the calls to see that everyone is okay. Their spirit of kinship is what keeps the family together and strong

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