I am currently going through a very difficult time in my life, a period of loss. It has made my reconsider many things in my life – what’s important… and what’s not. And I’ve realized what it really boils down to for me is this – loving God and loving people. Those were what Jesus said were the two greatest commandments. Love God, and love others.
Who Tells Your Story
Family history for me is a big part of loving people. I love the musical Hamilton, and the line, “who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” We all want to be remembered. I met with a friend a few days ago and we were talking about this difficulty that I am going through and she reminded me of what I admire about so many members of my family and my ancestors – their perseverance through hardship, the legacy of love they left despite all the trials they faced. Who tells your story? Those to whom you pass down something to… and will it be a legacy of love you leave?
What do we want to remember? Each of us makes mistakes, each of us does things that we regret, but if we press through these things, ultimately we will be remembered for the good things we did in our lives, the love we shared. This is something I believe our ancestors wanted as well. It is our love that reverberates through time. “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”
I try to share stories of my grandparents, my older relatives who have passed on, my ancestors, with my children. When my husband’s grandfather passed away earlier this year, I heard his wife, my husband's grandmother, whisper to my sister-in-law at his funeral, “Remember him.” That is how we honor our passed loved ones, our ancestors. We remember them.
Share with your Children
So, share your stories with your children. Teach your children how to preserve those stories, too. I have written a workbook to help kids write about their family history – but before they write, there is also a guide on how to learn about their family history. Tips on how to interview older family members, and how to find more about their family history. It’s called Writing Family History for Kids: A Workbook & Guide, and it’s free when you subscribe to our newsletter.
I started this blog in the hopes of teaching kids how to write about their family history because I know how important it is to start when you’re young. I began my journey into family history when I was 16, but even now I wish I had begun sooner, because at that time, two of my grandparents had already passed and I missed out on so many stories and memories they could have shared with me. But still – I have been able to preserve memories and stories of several family members that have now since passed that I otherwise would not have been able to, had I not taken the time to listen. My Grandma Andrews, my Great-great Aunt Betts, and my husband’s Grandpa Potter, especially. Because I started when I was so young, I learned so much from them, and not only that, I got to know them better, and in the case of Aunt Betts and Grandpa Potter, so did my kids.
My blog is devoted to the mission of family storytelling, and preserving our family stories and memories through our children. They are the ones who will carry on the family history, so we need to start teaching them now how to preserve it, in ways that reach them, as children. When children learn the meaning and importance of preserving family history, and ways that they can do it themselves at their age, then our family history will truly be safe in their hands. The legacy of love of generations will continue.
Subscribe here to receive your free copy of Writing Family History for Kids: A Workbook & Guide.
Happy storytelling, friends.
Thank you to Elizabeth O'Neal of My Descendants Ancestors for hosting this June Blog Party - click the button below to read about how other family historians are preserving their family history through the descendants.