Sunday, January 22, 2012

Provenance

By Julie Rahm

My husband, John, has just finished my annual punishment. This punishment comes once a year and lasts for about two days. This punishment spectacle is a TV broadcast on the Speed Channel. Exactly! You have guessed correctly. For two days, we watch the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction. The Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction is held once a year in Scottsdale, Arizona. Actually, there are other auctions in Palm Beach, Las Vegas and Orange County. Fortunately, John views these other auctions as junior varsity events and doesn’t watch them. The big painful one is held in Scottsdale. I hate the watching the auction. Unlike my husband, I am not a muscle-car aficionado. I had my formative years in the eighties not the seventies. I also think the lust for cars comes with the Y chromosome. Regardless of my outcries for compassion, we faithfully watch the auction every year. I persevere through the two day event by diverting my attention and watching the hair on my legs grow. I do not understand the fascination with cars much less the prices paid for these old relics. John would like an old Corvette, purchase price around two hundred thousand dollars, so we can drive it in the Croakerfest Parade! There must be an old high school wrestling injury to John’s head. Amazingly, all the other men I know think this purchase a worthwhile idea!


However, this television car auction from hell has taught me one valuable lesson. I’ve learned that more provenance equals more value. Provenance comes from the French word provenir. Provenir refers to the chronology of ownership. Documented evidence of provenance for a car can help establish it is not a reproduction, been altered or stolen. For a car, establishing provenance is essentially a matter of documentation. People also have provenance. Birth certificates and certificates of baptism provide provenance for individuals. But, personal provenance is more than birth documentation. Personal provenance includes a sense of family lineage. I have clients who are adrift in life. Part of their challenge is their lack of family history. The lost have no ties to the past and are therefore adrift in the present. Look to your family past to understand who you are. My family history lies in the Nebraska corn fields. Hence, my work ethic and values are no surprise. John’s history comes from the anthracite coal mines in Pennsylvania. Mental and physical toughness are a part of his family culture. So, my message this week is to encourage development of your own provenance. If you don’t know, find out from where, and who, you came. In order to understand who and where you are, you must understand your multi-generational family history. Knowing thyself should begin with a lesson in your family history. Like a car at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, the more provenance you carry in your psyche, the more valuable you will become to yourself and others. For more insights I invite you to follow my blogs at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com and www.MilitaryKidsSpeak.com

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