Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Family Stories

Have you ever thought about the power of your family stories? Can you remember how they shaped your thoughts and feelings about yourself as a child? Every family has its stories. They end up becoming a big part of how we understand ourselves in the world. We use them to make sense out of confusion and to ground ourselves in our values and in our love and trust for one another. Stories help us grasp how our experiences fit into our world. They can convey and keep us mindful of many qualities such as love, heroism, sacrifice, humility, or safety. They provide a context and grounding for family values and strengths. They let people know that we see and value them.

Assembling and telling a story is a great way to help a child, or anyone else for that matter, understand, remember, and place in context his or her heritage and experiences.

Fortunately for us, telling a meaningful story is not difficult. Here are a few practical ideas:
*Keep it simple! One idea or concept is enough for a story
*Think short. If you try to write a novel, you might not write anything
*It doesn’t have to be dramatic
*It doesn’t even have to be written
*It can be a series of pictures with captions, or a paragraph here and there
*A funny song, or poem written for the child about a particular event is something they can keep with pride
*Take turns on the drive home making the day’s activity into a story. Have fun with it
*Alternatively, use times in the car or in other situations where things are quiet to tell a story about one of your parents, grandparents or friends
*A scrap book page done for a child after a fun day at the beach keeps the memory alive
*A series of simple drawings and a few captions on a page after a hard day can reflect a return to comfort and a good ending for a child
*A story with pictures, hand drawn, cut out, or photographs, about a happy experience with a loved one who is gone keeps good memories in the forefront
*A page with a picture of a grandparent and a short story about their love, helpfulness, strength, courage, skill, or sacrifice is wonderfully grounding
*A cook book page with the recipe for one of the child’s favorite foods and pictures of the child helping or of the finished product makes helping fun
* A short, 3 minute “Movie Maker” movie that includes a favorite song, pictures of a fun activity, and some captions or narration is a great option. This simple movie making software comes in the operating system package on many computers
* Your story can be messy
*It can be imperfect

If your story conveys your love, caring, acknowledgment or respect, the recipient of any age will appreciate and value it as well as carrying into their future its message of grounding and certainty of place in the world