Although I have seen the image of a sankofa many times, it’s meaning had never dawned on me. But in the alumni magazine of Columbia Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian school that let me slip through many years ago, Pam Cottrell noted the mythical West African bird’s good symbolism.

Pictured with its head turned backward to retrieve an egg from its back, the bird represents the value of taking what is good from the past and bringing it into the present.

In a Ghanian language, sankofa means “go back and take.”

I am often amazed at those who live in the present tense as if what happened before them has no meaning, purpose or influence.

There is an arrogance and a foolishness to assuming that what came before us is inferior to or has no impact on our present lives.

We are shaped by both the positive and negative influences that we inherit. Maturity is learning which eggs to retrieve and which ones to leave behind.

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