by Jennifer Hakim
Meet Margaret Khachi Younany, a loving Chaldean grandmother to 15 children. She is 84 years old and offers a lot of wisdom and truth that has inspired all her loved ones. From a first generation Chaldean myself, I decided to share her beliefs and experiences from the tragic events she encountered to her encounters with love. I hope the following interview captures the beauty of this woman who I have much respect and love for.
JENNIFER: What do you miss most about your child hood?
MARGARET: As an active child, I miss running, climbing trees, jump rope and various other sports. I was never afraid of anything and would love to try new adventures. I always wanted to have fun. I was ambitious and took risks.
Her inner beauty of innocent and carefree fun was the truth in her childhood. How much different is her childhood experience than that of today’s technological and social media driven one? Do kids even go outside today?
JENNIFER: Do you feel the generation of our culture today lacks in any areas? Also, what do you recommend to our generation today?
MARGARET: I feel the generation of our culture today doesn’t attend Church the way my generation did. The understanding of the true meaning and importance to attend Church is missing in today’s generation.
I recommend for this generation to go to Church. To understand their background, culture, history and heritage. I encourage you all to learn the language [Chaldean] fluently.
Every Chaldean grandma cares about Church and tradition. But I don’t think I have met one so persistent. Each one of their children was baptized on the fortieth day after being born and attended a private Catholic school while living in Iran. She took her children to Church every day at 6AM in the morning before their classes begun. She goes on…
JENNIFER: What are some of the important choices or decisions you made that you have learned from?
MARGARET: Having a strong connected loving family and relationships with one another. I helped those who had nothing. It is always important for me to give back, volunteer, fundraise and donate to Church. I donated my crafty and artsy work, such as clothing, hats and accessories that I made.
While my grandma was big into Church, she also shares great human wisdom. When asked to give an example of learning form dark or stressful times, she decided to not share her personal experience. However, did offer some words of wisdom:
MARGARET: Forever, for eternity, your actions will live with you. When you make decisions you must make them wisely and understand the importance of any outcomes to your decisions. Know that all your actions will live with you. All your actions will live within your heart. When you cannot handle the burden of something do not bring the action to yourself.
JENNIFER: As you look back over your life, do you see any "turning points"; that is, a key event or experience that changed over the course of your life or set you on a different track?
MARGARET: My husband’s horrific car accident left him blind. He flipped over and almost passed away. He couldn’t work for two years. I became sick and diagnosed with thyroid disease. Praying and believing in our faith along with hope in God helped us overcome these obstacles. Our faith in miracles and in God held them strong to recovery.
Faith & Hope. What else can I say, other than that it is these virtues that make my grandma strong, all coming from God. She continues to live the best life she can, with the memory of her late husband always in mind. I am recalled to the story of how her husband, my grandpa, Yousif Younany courted her.
Grandpa first saw her at one of the many cultured picnic reunions. The picnics were a potluck theme with everyone to gather and enjoy their time together. While grandma was walking with her friends toward the location of where they wanted to eat, she was carrying her dish. In this dish was the BBQ meat prepared to eat with her friends. Yousif was quietly and calmly walking by grandma when he put a Frog in her dish. This Frog resembled his ‘Hello, you will be my wife’ introduction. (It reminds me of the Frog who turned into the Prince.) She screamed and throw the dish in the air. Everybody was laughing with loud and excited about what just happened. It was love at first sight for him. They never met or knew of one another until that day.
Such different times back then, yet still so much to offer in many ways. I will end with her wisdom on how to keep a marriage happy, since that is desperately needed in today’s day.
JENNIFER: What's the secret to a happy marriage?
MARGARET: Respect, communication and understanding of one another.
Most of all, both hearts must aim love God, while attending church and praying together. As the saying goes: “If you want well for people, you receive goodness.”