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One is valuable. The other isn’t. Why?

“My kids aren’t going to want that old fashioned stuff.  They’re young–they’re not sentimental.”

We hear this often enough that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  And it may be true but not entirely, and perhaps not for the reasons the speaker believes.

Our world is increasingly fragmented and many of us live far from the homes we grew up in. Technology changes with blinding speed and it’s hard to keep up.  Commutes are longer, vacations are shorter, and hardly anyone entertains at home the way our parents and grandparents did. And for those very reasons many young people feel a hunger for what connects them to the past, to family, to permanence.

An object’s age alone won’t satisfy that need.  Neither will its purported value.  Only the memories that create a warm emotional attachment can.  If you never serve family dinner on great-great grandmother’s china because it’s too valuable to use, don’t be surprised if no one wants it. Conversely, you may be surprised to discover that objects with little financial value are treasured by children and grandchildren who are far more attached to them than you realize.

When we were very little, our granddad used to sit in a green leather armchair and read to us.  To the grandson who inherited it, the green leather chair is far more precious than the ‘too valuable to sit in’ Victorian side chair that sat next to it.

One evokes a treasured memory, reminding us that the people we love never truly leave us. The other is just a chair.