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.
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.
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.