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:
- What was your favorite food when you were my age?
- What is it now?
- What was your favorite activity when you were my age?
- What is it now?
- 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.