We all have a story to tell . . . and it equates to leaving a legacy for your children and grandchildren.
The official definition of legacy is a sum of money left for an inheritance. But to me, knowing the memories and history of my family is far more important than any amount of money. Before my grandmother passed away at 103, she had written several stories about certain events in her life. I was very close to my grandmother. I had heard many stories about her life in person, I wish there were more written down. (A favorite one she did write down is the history of a spinning wheel I have at my house).
I am nowhere near the end of my time, but I love the idea of starting my story so that my grandchildren will know more about their family history. We have had some crazy times as a family that I think they would love reading about as they get older.
What does it do for you?
Writing is therapeutic. Just the process of reflecting on your life will give you a stronger sense of self, and increase gratitude. Even if you’re going through a hard time, thinking about positive events from the past can get you through challenges. Shawn Achor of Harvard University notes that sharing events from the past gives you more happiness and can impact your future success.
What does it do for your children?
Teens who know more about their family histories have greater resiliency and higher levels of emotional well-being according to a study from Emory University. And younger children who feel connected to multi-generations have more self-confidence according to New York Times writer Bruce Feller.
Leaving a Legacy
But where would you even start? And with how busy our lives are, when would you possibly find the time?
The #52Stories Project encourages you to write (or record) once only a week, and provides questions in twelve categories to trigger memories. The categories include things like holidays and traditions, motherhood, education, travel and vacations. Putting aside an hour a week to recall a funny family memory is a manageable way to share your life for future generations.
You can keep a weekly hand-written journal, files on a computer, or even record your memories using an app like StoryCorps.
[I wish I could take credit for this awesome idea, but it comes from the FamilySearch.org website.]
Don’t wait another day! Start telling your story and sharing memories. Even if they seem insignificant to you – future generations will know who you were, and more importantly, have a better understanding of themselves.
Tell me your greatest family memory in the comments below!