Collect Family Stories

The holiday season is here. Can you believe it? This year, make it extra special. Collect family stories.

Holiday times create a combination of good times, good food, and good stories. How many times have you heard a relative tell the same story? You know exactly how the punch line goes and you’re sure you’ll never forget it. Well, wait a few years. When that storyteller is no longer around and the story starts to fade you will be surprised how quickly the familiar story is forgotten.

How many wonderful family stories have gone undocumented over the years? Do you take your family history for granted not realizing that the “things” of your family can be wiped out very quickly? When Hurricane Katrina wiped out most of New Orleans, many of my family members fell victim to that hard truth. Family artifacts were wiped out in a 24 hour period. Several family members are still displaced and material things that were expected to pass from generation to generation are long gone.

But, we still have stories. Now the stories include tragedy and triumph over a natural disaster. The family history has changed. But the ability to engage in the sharing of legacy can’t be erased as long as the stories are shared and recorded.

Have you started writing your family memoirs? Do you record those stories that you think will be with you forever? What is that one story that you hear every holiday gathering? Write it out. Then be sure to have it with you during the holidays to see if you got all of the details correct.

Starting to Write about Your Life

When you think about your life what comes to mind? Do you freeze up because you only remember the overall bad stuff, the pains, confusions, or bad decisions? Let’s get that out of the way first and foremost. Being unsure about what to put on paper can be a great way to bring about writer’s block.

Here’s a first tip to consider as you think about writing your legacy through your memoirs: You control what you put on paper.

That is a major reason why writing your memoris are so important. You have the chance to share thoughts, dreams, adventures and memories that you may not have every shared before.

Others in the family see the outside person, but not all can know the inner you; the one that likes to laugh, who sees butterflies in the grass and the grasshopper sitting on the branch invisible to the rest of the world.

You could have dreams that no one would imagine. Someone once asked me where I really wanted to travel to in life. When I said “Venice and Greece” he was shocked. His preconceptions of who I am as a person didn’t match the reality of my personal dreams.

Would your children know that you wanted to see Botswana? Would they think you were satisfied to get to Las Vegas? If you don’t tell people who you really are, they will keep a vision of you created from what they see and their imagination and perceptions.

Start thinking deeper about your life. Think about the real you, not just the situations that you experienced. While all of this can go into the memoir, you decide what goes in and stays out. Start from that point and begin making notes as memories come back to you.

Write Your Legacy Memoir

How will you be remembered after your life is over? Surely you’ve thought about that. People are remembered. That’s for sure. You will be remembered. Your life matters. And each day, as you live in relationsihp wtih others, you touch the lives of others who will remember you.

But you can also be sure that you are remembered in ways that are important to you. Create your legacy through words. Write your memoirs. It’s easier than you might think to put your remembrances in writing. Follow this blog and you will learn how.

Another Chance for Children to Listen

Do you get frustrated that your children are not listening to you? Do you ever feel that they might take your words or advice lightly? With four children and many grand’s, I can relate to that feeling.

Not only do you worry as a parent that your words of wisdom are not heard, if you have several children, you wonder if you remembered to at least share the basic information with each one.

Writing your memoirs is a way to once again share your words of wisdom with children. Even if those children are grown up with their own children and grandchildren, seeing your words in print could be timely in their life.

Writing a long essay would be only one form of sharing your words. Try this tip to get your words in writing too.

One year, I bought a small journal and decided to write short observations, funny sayings, wise thoughts, opinions and perceptions in it. Each page would have only one short note. When the journal was full, it would be wrapped up as a gift and handed to my child. That is a great way for you to collect your thoughts as they come to you. It creates a memory book for your child and a way for you to hand down words of wisdom in a permanent format.

You don’t need anything fancy, a school tablet is fine. Some art stores have mini-journals for less than $1.00. The value of the journal doesn’t matter as much as the value of the words.

Get started today. What does reading this short piece make you think about that you have always said to your kids? Make that the first entry to your journal. Then keep the journal with you or close by at all times. You will be surprised how you start to remember information to share with your children throughout the day. Soon your first memory book could be completed and you move on to the next. You could even take that book, get the sayings transcribed and make copies for everyone in the family.

Your Business Legacy

Have you recorded the history of how you started your business, or how you got into your particular line of work? Business biographies are big. People love to read about how others got started in business, their techniques, successes, even the failures. For instance, it’s fascinating to hear how Bill Gates started Microsoft or how Donald Trump built his empire.

You might think your business story isn’t fascinating but I beg to differ. I worked with adult students for years who wrote about their busineses and did research on them for marketing purposes. The stories of these ordinary people were extraordinary. Hearing how someone who seems pretty much like a regular person has succeeded gives hope to others.

What is your story about your business or the profession you work in today? How did you choose this line of work? Why? What did you have to do to make it work for you? Write notes on this and share your story during a get together with family or friends over the upcoming holidays and ask to hear their stories too.