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My Story is Boring

My Story is Boring
A common sentiment among people when they write stories is that their life - to that point - is boring, or just like everyone else's.

While it may appear that is the case, and social media tends to create an illusion that everyone else has a more exciting life, it certainly is not. So how can you feel comfortable sharing stories about your life?

Try telling one of these stories to your child (or grandchild). Ideally, this child is about 5-10 years old, but if they're a little older, it's okay.

Pick one of these stories to tell them, and see how they respond.
  1. Tell them about the things they did as a baby. What did they eat (or not eat), what was their bedtime routine?
  2. Tell them about family pets that were around before the child was born.
  3. The story of the day they were born. Include details of the time, the length of labor and delivery, reactions from siblings, parents, and grandparents. You can even talk about seemingly mundane details like, “what did daddy eat for lunch?”

These are ordinary, everyday things that seem largely forgettable, but watch the child's reaction as you share it. The story is captivating, and they usually will want to know more.

The lesson here is clear: Even day-to-day stories ARE interesting to people who love you. They may seem mundane to you; that's because you went through them as part of your day-to-day life. Your daily life - or even “daily grind” - is different from other's, so there are most certainly people who want to know your stories.

Don't be afraid to share.


Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

Building family bonds with grandparent interviews

Building family bonds with grandparent interviews

Editors note: this is a guest post written Ben Robison.

A big motivator in family storytelling is being able to pass the wisdom of the current oldest generation on to the current youngest generation. This duty usually falls to people in the middle generation, and more specifically the women who want their children to know where they come from.

You've probably read the (very) short story, "That's not my job!" If not, or if you need a refresher, here it is:

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

This little story can be applied to many facets of life, and it certainly has application when it comes to family story preservation.

To simplify the process I decided to gamify this for my kids and create an opportunity for quality time with their grandparents. I did this by creating an interview for my elementary-aged children to ask my parents, and everyone loved it.

Here's what I did.

First the questions:

  1. What was your favorite food when you were my age?
  2. What is it now?
  3. What was your favorite activity when you were my age?
  4. What is it now?
  5. What is your favorite childhood memory?

While these don't teach any life lessons, they do bring the grandkids and grandparents closer. That will hopefully pay off in time, where maybe some life lessons can be shared. Of course, you can always ask deeper questions or go with a mix of lighter questions with some weightier ones mixed in. My hope with this is to sort of “prime the pump” so that as my kids grow, they feel comfortable about talking to my parents and asking them questions.

For added fun, you can then invite the grandparents over to have their favorite meal and do their favorite activities.

This is just one way I have found to work memory preservation (and family strengthening) into the hectic daily schedule.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

How do I find time to preserve my story?

How do I find time to preserve my story?

People today are busier than ever. Writing - any kind of writing - is time-consuming. So, how do you add the task of preserving stories to an already full schedule, and hope to keep your sanity?

If you have an already full daily schedule, adding another thing - like writing stories - just doesn't make sense. I'm assuming that since you're taking the time to read this, story preservation is somewhere on your priority list. That's the first step. It has to be important enough to at least make it onto your list of things that need to be done. Here are some tips that can help you get the most out of your efforts.


Don't write the story.

We usually think of preserving a story by writing it, but there is no reason to not use technology. You can easily record a story using your phone to record video or audio. Getting in “the zone” for writing is time-consuming in itself. so skipping it and opting to record it might often be a better choice.

Schedule a time and place

Don't add it to your to-do list and squeeze it in when you have a chance. Preserving a story usually requires intentionally planning time to do just that. Whether you'll be writing or recording, set a start and finish time - even if it's 15-20 minutes - and stick to that.

Get comfortable

This isn't so much about finding time as it is using that time most effectively. What do you need to be comfortable so you can focus on the task at hand? For writing, you may need a comfortable chair and good table. For doing a video or audio session, you probably want something cozy to sit on while you talk.

Don't forget to have something to drink or snack on. It's always more relaxing if you have a favorite beverage (probably non-alcoholic, but that's up to you) to sip.

This may seem silly but go to the bathroom BEFORE you start.

At the end of the day, you have to choose to be intentional

Story preservation is difficult because it requires intentional decisions and actions. Human beings frequently struggle with that, so we have to consciously and deliberately do this.

Take everything in small chunks

One big hurdle with story preservation is looking at all the stories there are to record. It quickly becomes an overwhelming task that gets put off indefinitely. One of the reasons we made greetingStory cards was to work through this problem. Rather than looking at all the stories you could (or should, or need to) record, focus on one at a time. Aesop's fable of the tortoise and the hare teaches us that "slow and steady wins the race." Keep that in mind as you work on your story preservation.

Most people feel that story preservation is important, but struggle to make it a priority. If this describes you, don't feel guilty, simply decide to do it, plan a time and follow through on your plans.

Start small. Plan on 5-10 minutes a week. Put it on your calendar and do it. That will give you a starting point from which to grow.

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash