“The history of the world is not complete until your story is told.” – unknown
In my last post, I wrote about my journey in the field of Education – from high school to the present – and how I’ve gone from a babysitter in my youth to a homeschool mom and ESL teacher today. I’ve had many stops along the way – I worked in ABA Therapy and Special Education for years. But in the “field of Education” – I believe if teachers aren’t about the business of the heart as much as they are the mind, they have no business being “in the field”. If I didn’t care about my students while I was working in ABA Therapy and Special Education, then I didn’t really do my job very well. If I didn’t impart to my students just how special they truly were, how worthy they are, if I didn’t pour my heart into my work with my students in those jobs, then quite honestly, I shouldn’t have been there.
Contribute a Verse
One of my teacher role models is actually fictional – Mr. Keating, played by the late Robin Williams, in the movie, Dead Poets Society. And Mr. Keating is not “in the field of Education” for anything other than to inspire and encourage his students. He is in it for the heart. He is in it to teach them that they are worth something – that they have something special to offer the world.
In the movie, he says to his students,
“To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” (emphasis mine)
I place emphasis on “your verse” in all of my educating – that is, I hope I do.
It’s part of why I started this blog. To share with children that every single one of us has a story worth telling. Every single one of us – from our great-great-great grandparents, all the way down to the newborn baby in the family. Each one of us has a story.
It’s not just about the ancestors. It’s about all of us.
So, let’s listen to the stories – every single one of them.
Family storytelling is so important, and if we do not include our children in our family history, we miss out on so much. Ever since they were born, our children have played a role in the family, and they have a story to tell, too.
Your grandmother has stories to tell about her mother from way back, but then again, your preschooler has stories to tell about his mother, too. (And I’d daresay they are stories his mama would want to hear.)
Your grandpa has stories to tell about his childhood friends. But your 5th grader has memories from 1st grade about his friends that she also wants to share. Listen to both. They’re both family history – they’re both important stories.
And if your child doesn’t learn to tell their stories now – or learn that those stories are valuable – they may not tell them to their grandchildren down the road. They may not realize that they “may contribute a verse” – that they have stories worth telling.
Tell the Stories
Please tell those stories. Share them around the dinner table, in the kitchen while you’re cooking, while you’re on a walk, driving in the car, with your friends, share those stories. Let your two-year-old tell his little story. Listen to your 100 year old grandfather tell his stories.
This is family history. And it belongs to everyone. Tell those stories, friends. Listen to those stories. Write them down. Record them. Each story builds bonds and understanding. This is our story.
After all, the history of the world is not complete until your story is told.
Happy storytelling, friends.
This blog is devoted to helping families, especially children, learn how to share their family history – including their own stories. We have several free resources to that end – from writing choice boards to crafts and other activities. You can have access to all of these free when you subscribe.
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