Family History

Having written that what we inherit is less important than the environment and the people we grow up with, I still make the case that our family’s history is of considerable importance. It is important enough that I strongly suggest sitting down with parents and grandparents to listen to their stories about themselves and their family history. One of my biggest mistakes was that I never asked my parents to tell me about their childhood, family, and stories of their life living in small villages near Odesa. 

My only loving older sister did know some of the stories, and after my parents were gone, she shared, but I had to ask. I came to understand why their stories were not easily shared. There are memories too painful to relive. I hear and see this from those that fought in Vietnam. I know I have a few too. 

Still, I believe that knowing one’s family history is essential. It is, after all, the picture of where we come from and perhaps might not have been. My own example is worth sharing: My mother came from a small Jewish village near Odesa, a big industrial city on the Black Sea. For one day and night, White Russians attacked the village to destroy it, raping and killing the Jews that lived there. Five of my mother’s older brothers, she was 12 at the time, went to the defense of the village and were killed. They died a hero’s death, and the village was saved. Her mother, sister, and other younger brothers hid in the temple and were informed of their loss soon after the White Russians were defeated. My mother witnessed her mother go “mad” with grief.  A scene she never forgot. 

She and her brothers got to the U.S. the following year, where she met my father, married, and why I am here. Perhaps, I owe my very existence to the brothers that died defending her and the village. Events do dictate. 

Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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