As the saying goes, desperation is the mother of invention; I believe in this strongly. Remaining ever resourceful has been a vigilant endeavor of mine.
PART OF KNOWING THAT SOMETHING NEW NEEDS INVENTING COMES FROM KNOWING WHAT’S ALREADY BEEN INVENTED, AND THAT CANNOT BE DONE WITHOUT EDUCATING YOURSELF AND KNOWING YOUR HISTORY.
As you’ll notice here on my website, I use a coat of arms (above). I am not the first born in the line of males since the conquest of Normandy in 1,066; therefore, I have no heraldry inheritance bequeathed to me for a paternally granted coat of arms. This original design is a coat of arms I created, which has been registered with the Armorial Register International Register of Arms. In all of the things I’ve been through in my life, I have found solace knowing that I have Mansfield blood flowing through my veins. This helps to direct me and give me purpose. As so many things have been stripped from me in life, I have to look toward greater things. Things that speak of honor, integrity, and loyalty. So many people in our society forget their place, by acting as though they do not have to be held to any standard. Too many of us forfeit the joys of life because we are so busy trying to be individual celebrities (with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) that we lose sight of who we are, and what we are here to do.
This doesn’t mean that I’m a supporter of casts systems; however, in that same breath I wish to say that there is honor in tradition. Having a rich heritage of a family that provides expertize in a craft is a beautiful contribution of society’s advancements. Having your life spelled out for you by having to carry on the family farm or industry, when it is not a natural interest of yours, may seem a bit daunting, but what is the alternative? Each of us cannot be a pig farmer, blacksmith, or more relatable still a famous entertainer admired by all, but sometimes there are jobs that no one wants to do, and they still need doing. Someone needs to remove the trash, needs to lockup the harmful, and someone needs to help the sick. Our bodies stink, and through our inspirational aspirations and magnificent achievements, we as a people leave behind some rather fowl odorous materials in our wake, and someone needs to be involved in the work of dealing with that. Carrying on a family tradition comes at a price that involves great sacrifice, but we can be better at doing our duty, not because we want to, but because we have to; for the greater good of all.
Remembering where you came from gives you direction, sense of substance, and purpose. Contributing to society the way that only your family line knows how is wonderful and meaningful work. This doesn’t mean you carry on the art of being the town idiot, but if your family has a rich history that contributes music, art, protection, baking, or any type of dignified service; these are the contributions that we must uphold. Ever-looking to being the next diva is absurd, time consuming, and tears at the very fabric of our society. We complain that immigrates are taking our jobs and yet we refuse to do the jobs ourselves. We gripe that our governments are corrupt and yet it’s our own stubbornness of refusing to carry on our family traditions that has created this dilemma for government to find an answer to. The roads need repairing, and the land needs taming; however, no one wishes to get this work done, what else is the government to do? “The government” is comprised of citizens like you and me; they are our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, and yet we wish to blame them for our own vices.
Like Rome, we too will fall if we allow the Barbarians to take all of our contracts for work. Is it too late; are we already lost? No, it is not too late and we have not fallen yet, but the process has begun and so we need to roll up our shirtsleeves and put some muscle to this problem or it will overtake us. The answer is that we must humble ourselves, remember our purpose for the contributions we each can make, look to our family history, and bring back what once was. This answer sounds almost too general and a bit anti-climatic but consider what I’ve just said regarding looking to family history. What is your last name? That would probably be one of the best ways to begin considering your family history. We never had last names before, we only started assigning those to one another because of the work we did. Ever meet someone with the last name Baker, Smith, or Housekeeper? Why do you think they have those names? What do you think the last name Mansfield means? Why was it assigned to my family line? That is family history. Your name is your heritage and helps to give you a glimpse into what your family’s purpose once was to our civilization.
In about 1670 Joseph Mansfield was born in the beautiful town of Hilton, Derbyshire, England. In about 1700 Joseph begate Samuel, who (in about 1736) begat Samuel, who (in about 1765) begat Joseph. In 1799 John was born in the beautiful rolling hills of Etwall, Derbyshire, England. John married Annis Bates and had two sons Gervis (George) and John; next, Gervis moved to the United States in exploration of a new life for his family. Gervis had Dean; Dean had John; John had me, Matthew Mansfield. My ancestry is rich with romance and chivalry; which I strongly believe has not been lost.
So, I find myself here in America, but longing to relocate to where my family started, England. I love the rich history, landscape, and weather of England. America is a wonderful place, don’t get me wrong, but I would love to be able to visit the places of my origins, and walk on the same streets as those of my family in times past.
Reaching this, the prime of my life, was filled with adversity and in no small measure. Experiencing forces against me has only caused me to grow even stronger in the areas tested. I didn’t understand just how much strength can be drawn from studying my history until I experienced it for myself. There have been so many hardships that my family has suffered throughout so many generations. There are stories which have gone untold, burdens unimaginable by today’s standards, and all this support remained untapped until I opened my first family history journal. Now I see why I need to be strong. Now I understand what I should be grateful for and why I should be grateful for it. I have a good sense of perspective when I think of the sacrifice my ancestors have endured to bring me to where I am.
My family’s lustrous heritage bespeaks of nothing more than how things ought to have remained when dealing in matters of courtship, love, and life. Today the Mansfield family stands as a reminder to those in an age of dwindling remembrances regarding the importance of etiquette and its inherent impact on the heart, body, and mind. These things do not have to remain concepts buried long ago. We can work together to remember what we are. Michael Crichton once said, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” Before we wither and fall from this tree of life, let’s find out what we are connected to.
I invite you to join me in bringing into your future relationships a sense of passion that can be relayed to your friends and loved ones through an exciting and heartfelt sense of love, understanding, and community. Contact me with your thoughts, and as always, remember the words and warning from Lord Polonius, a loving father, to his son Laertes, in Act 1, Scene III of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, “This above all: to thine own self be true.”