I am a huge advocate of sharing family stories. Memories connect us to the past and to each other. We are better because of them.
Unfortunately, too often we get busy with life in general and forget the importance of taking a break, sitting down, and talking with our loved ones – whether older than us or younger.
We rarely think about the simple fact that opportunities to share these stories are limited. Our children, grandchildren or other relatives may not get the chance to hear our recollections. That’s just reality.
Most importantly, they won’t hear them in our own words. We simply can’t let that happen – and we don’t have to!
Even if you don’t have your stories captured and produced professionally, you can at least grab your smartphone and record a few things in your own words which your grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and generations beyond will want to know.
Here are three stories from your life that you need to record for the generations yet to come.
1. I want to hold your hand
Who we are really starts with where we come from. We may just be a “twinkle in the eye” so to speak, but the moment when our ancestors meet really includes us. We are a part of that formational story. Your descendants will want to hear how you met that important person who is also part of their family tree.
These meeting stories contain the sweep of human emotions. They bring the past into the present. They tell us important things about our progenitors.
Even more importantly, how the stories are told brings insight into the personality of this storyteller who stands in our family history. My grandparent or great-grandparent becomes more than just a person in a photo. He or she becomes a real human being, with a personality and a style, and a voice I can hear and appreciate.
Be sure to give your future descendants the gift of knowing you by knowing how you met the other half of this human equation.
Along with learning about the initiation of an ancestral relationship, future generations will want to hear the results of that pairing. The day a child is born tends to be a little crazy. A lot is going on! As a dad, I know I was pretty stressed out on the day of birth for each of my two kids – and I had the easy job!
We all like to hear these stories because the drama and worry and confusion and relief give us a window into the way the characters think. We may be surprised not only by how the story unfolds but also how the story is retold. Again, we learn something about the personality involved by hearing the story in the person’s own voice. The climax is a birth which brings us a step closer to the generation of the listener.
The stories of your children’s births are valuable content for your must-have recording.
3. A day in the life
If I ask you to tell me a vivid memory from your childhood, what comes to mind? A first day at school? An accident? A sports victory? A great family vacation? The loss of a loved one?
These moments, whether happy or sad, tragic or triumphant, are another window into who you are. You will tell the story from today’s perspective, noticing things about the childhood “you” which add to the depth of the narrative. You can bring understanding to the story, explaining both its value in your childhood eyes and its continuing prominence today.
Again, what future generations will really be hearing is a story which draws a portrait of you. That’s what they will seek. Choose at least one of these moments and tell the story.
That’s a gift the future will treasure. So what are you waiting for? Start recording!