TELL ME A STORY
When your children or grandchildren ask you to tell them a story, do you reach for the nearest children's book or tell them a fairy tale you're familiar with? If so, you may be doing them a disservice by not digging into your memory bag of family stories.
It's been proven that children who know more about their family and its history, are better adjusted and more able to cope with stressful situations.
One of the first professionals to identify the relationship between knowledge of family and a child's coping ability was Dr. Sara Duke, a psychologist, who noticed that her disabled students were better able to face challenges if they knew more about their families.
Her husband, Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivush were intrigued by her findings and decided toВ test the hypothesis at the Emory Center for the Study of Myth and Ritual in American Life. They started by asking nearly 50 children questions such as: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know the story of your birth?
When they compared the results of their findings to a battery of psychological tests the children had taken, an overwhelming conclusion was reached that the more children knew about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.(1)
The вЂњDo You Know?вЂќ scale turned out to be the best single predictor of childrenвЂ™s emotional health and happiness.
Two months later when 9/11 occurred, they again assessed the children and found those who knew more about their families were better able to cope with the stress of that dreadful day.
Family stories help connect children to a "larger sense of self," or a belonging to somethings bigger. The stories you tell shouldn't be limited to just the good times. Often,В stories about the difficult times you or the others experienced, how they were dealt with them, and the successful outcome will help children to realize that perseverance pays off.
Take opportunities to squeeze in stories when you're traveling, hiking or tucking them in at night. You'll soon find they are clamoring for more.
Of course, we all realize we won't be here forever and that's why it is so important to write these stories down or to record them. These stories are an important part of your family's legacy -- a legacy that will be cherished for generations to come.
(1) The Stories that Bind Us; Bruce Feiler; The New York Times, 3/15/2013; http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?_r=0
Take the time to call your parents, grandparents or oldest living relative to ask them these questions. Record the call so you can later transcribe it to preserve it for future generations.
1. What is your full name? Birthdate?
2. Where were you born?
3. Where did you live as a child?
4. What activities did you enjoy as a child?
5. How many siblings did you have and what were their names?
6. Which sibling were you closest too and why?
7. Tell me about your parents.
8. What school did you attend? Tell me about it.
9. What was your favorite holiday? How did you celebrate?
10. What was your favorite vacation? Tell me about it.
11. What high school did you attend? Tell me about it.
12. Who was your best friend in high school?
13. What activities did you enjoy?
14. What was your favorite subject in school?
15. Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
16. What kind of clothes did you wear as a teenager and how did you fix your hair?
17. What was your favorite movie? Who was your favorite movie star?
18. Did you have boyfriend/girlfriend? Tell me about him or her.
19. Where did you meet [grandma/grandpa, mom/dad]?
20. What was he/she like?
21. When did you get married? Where?
22. What was life like as a married couple?
23. How many children did you have? Tell me about them.
24. What were some of the fun things you did as a family?
25. What were some of the hard times you had? How did you overcome them?
26. How important was religion in your life?
27. What are some of the social issues that concerned you?
28. What jobs did you have? Which did you like best?
29. What are some of the things you are proudest for achieving?
30. What are some of your regrets? What would you do differently if you could do it again.
On Sunday our family had our annual Christmas party. Having a fairly large family (50+ members in our immediate family) we usually rent a hall or lodge to hold it. However, by the time we got around to doing it this year, nothing was available. So, mom/grandma/g-grandma comes to the rescue... "Let's hold it at my house!"
My house has many levels so I figured by the time we spread out throughout the house, there would be plenty of room. However, during the gift exchange we had to fit into one area (family room/dining room). WeВ scrunched the kids into the center of the room,В having them sitВ on the floor. The adults and teenagers took up the rest of the room... elbow to elbow in many cases. The room of course was hot with all that body heat so windows were open to let in some of the 35В degree chill from outside.
Now here is the interesting part, with all the discomfort,В stepping on toes, and elbowing,В allВ were in good spiritВ вЂ¦В the Christmas spirit. As I looked around the room I felt immense pride for everyone that was there. All of my children and grandchildren have grown into reallyВ good people. They're all successful!
While they may not be the richest or the most famous, they all haveВ beautiful lovingВ families. In a day when we hear so many terrible things about how parents are abusing their children and children being disrespectful to their parents, having familiesВ thatВ careВ and loveВ each other and will support each other no matter what challenges are being faced makes that family aВ success. A successful family enjoys being together and looks forward to sharing. My family is a success!
I just want to let myВ family know how much I love and appreciate each and every one of them!
TakeВ time during this holiday season to reflect on the importance of family and remember toВ tell them how much they mean to you.
Merry Christmas to my family and toВ you and yours! В В Lynda
Family Christmas Party - 2015
Christmas Party - 2015
Christmas Party - 2015