Recording for Posterity

- Joellen Monson

"Tell me a story..." what parent hasn't heard that phrase uttered a thousand times? In our century that generally means a Disney movie in book form, fairy tale or anything authored by someone through a movie or publishing company.

What about the richness of your own family's story? Great-aunts and uncles, grandparents, and long standing family friends get older year by year - so do their memories. Once these people are gone from our lives their stories will be lost forever. Choose to be your family historian to preserve and protect these anecdotes for posterity. Tell them to your children so that the legacy will on for posterity.

You may think "Oh, I've heard the relatives talk about people who I don't even know over the years...It's too hard to keep them all straight...It's boring..." Well, there is a saying about history repeating itself. You may actually be surprised to learn how similar previous generations dealt with and endured economic swings, housing issues, moves, sibling squabbles, friendships - or how they didn't deal so well with those issues.

Kids are actually just as surprised to hear the similarities that grandpa tells about on his first day at a new school or what school supplies he needed or amazed at the differences. All relatives stories aren't "You're lucky - I walked 10 miles to school uphill both ways!" It is through the continuity story telling provides that people feel a deeper level of connection. For a child to know that what they may be learning about in school about events - be it racism, elections or wars - they have people they know who lived during those times who can shed their own perspective on what it was like at the time.

While scrapbooking has gained in popularity in recent years (which also occurred in the early and again mid-twentieth century) these provide only snippets of moments which are a great start. Consider filming stories, asking relatives to write memories of specific events or document in some way this history that belongs to your generations.

History isn't just in books for kids. Shouldn't your kids know as much about where there family came from than they do Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. Bruce Wayne or all the Disney Princesses?