Mrs. Yvonne A. Montesantos
There were some members of our community, who in the past were under the misconception that our beloved yia-yias’ teachings (in their words “yia-yia theology”) were outdated. These “leaders” were attempting to convince (to no avail) a segment of our community, the need for sole reliance in textbook teachings, regarding our cultural and spiritual traditions. We know better; yia-yias are everything, and if we were fortunate enough to have them in our lives at various stages, we know full-well of their positive influence. We all have to varying degrees, a need to be part of a “yia-yia theology,” the theology of the universal wisdom and guidance. They can impart their wizened experiences of growing up and hopefully growing old, in their respective communities.
Yia-yia steadies our course, and helps us to navigate by teaching us the strengths and disciplines of traditions- (both cultural and religious in nature.) Many of my acquaintances (especially my American of Greek descent cousins) agree that our yia-yias were the fabric that kept our cultural and spiritual traditions flowing from one generation to the next. This being said, in addition to our well-versed yiayias, well-documented textbooks were handed down to us for study and contemplation.
Yia-yia taught us that, “I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.” Do these inspirational words sound familiar? Yes, it is apparent that our noble President-Elect Barack Obama has succinctly conveyed that, his beloved grandmother (of blessed memory) has contributed in large measure to his steadiness and his calm demeanor. What great legacies these hard-working women created! Let us never debunk their teachings! Let us never forget, “I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.”