I was recently invited to be a part of a panel of professionals at this year’s Assyrian Convention held here in Chicago. It was part of their youth summit. We talked about many things, including finding your passion, your niche, and being successful at it.
One of the gentlemen in the audience asked a question that really resonated with me.
Part of his question was, (and I’m paraphrasing), ‘other than representing your nationality in your profession, how are you honoring being an Assyrian?’
I was honestly stumped!
Yes, I speak the language. Yes, I was married in, and attend, an Assyrian church.
Yes, I cook the food. Yes, I still follow many Assyrian rules (like flipping the upside down slipper). But does that mean I exemplify a good Assyrian? Am I a good Assyrian? Or even, Assyrian enough?
That brings me to this topic. I’ve been getting on my husband’s case for some time now to take one of those genealogy tests so he can determine his background. His family is part Polish and Native American, but I am itching to know more. I truly believe when you know who you are (meaning, your nationality) it allows you to connect to others in that community, and even understand your family ancestry even more. And when that test comes back, I really hope we celebrate the knowledge, learn more about the traditions, embrace the uniqueness and continue them for generations.
Maybe that is the answer. Tradition. Maybe, we are who we are partly based on nationality, and party based on what we’ve been taught. The meals, the prayers, the way we treat each other, and the way we treat our family, and the way we celebrate and respect other nationalities and traditions.
Although I feel like I can do more, I’d like to think I do make a good Assyrian.
By representing them in my profession, and by being one in my house.
And always, in my heart.
P.S. In the pic above, the Assyrian Winged Bull, in our foyer.