Family Stories and Christmas are like Grand Central.

Christmas time and Family Stories belong together as does yummy pudding and custard.

Don’t miss the opportunity

Family Stories
Family Stories and Christmas are warm and fuzzy times

Christmas time is a time when families come together or if they don’t physically, they certainly do mentally and emotionally. Christmas time is a time to rehash, all the stories exaggerated or not, of family members’ quirks, strange behaviours or extraordinary life events and experiences.

Everyone has a story and children love to hear them. The stories they love most are the everyday stories we perhaps easily forget, how parents and grandparents met, what happened in the ‘old days’ and at school, and of course, they love a bit of ‘naughtiness’ and humour thrown in the mix.

My grandchildren love the stories of when their father at their age, broke the front window of our house, and then a few hours later, the window of his bedroom at the back of the house. They love the story of when he was being particularly naughty and knew he was going to get a smack (as children did in those days); he anticipated his punishment and put a book down the inside of his pants. Of course, I add in that I knew the book was there and let him get away with it anyway, (I think they love this bit best).

Equally, they love hearing of Dad’s successes, claiming the title of Australian Champion of VJ Sailing, his leadership roles in the community and at school. The grandchildren easily relate to all these things and, so they become part of the family story.

Write my life
Daddy’s successes and other funny stories are part of the family history

Families come together because they need a shared past with their kin. People’s identify is strongly tied to the family characteristics and family traits become something to be celebrated and cherished. Even the ‘odd’ people in the family take on a different role when the time is taken to listen to their story and perspectives.

Family stories are part of the family culture and tradition and people need family rituals to reinforce their belonging and emotional wellbeing.

Establishing a link between family members and generations through simple stories is one of the most powerful gifts you can give children and Christmas is the ideal time to start your collection.

Recording family stories

Capturing family stories need not be a tedious event. It can be fun and interactive. Smartphones are the magician of the current generation in my view and a very useful tool for capturing life stories.

Older children or adolescents may be thrilled to be asked to approach various people in the family, take them to a quiet spot and record their life stories.  It may be useful to equip the young interviewers with some key questions and leave them to it. Young people are very resourceful once they listen.

Other ways to ignite and record family stories could include:

  • Forming a small circle and starting a conversation by ‘remember when’ will stir up memories that may have lay dormant for decades.
  • Circulating a photo and allowing conversation and memories to explode.

Even if the family Christmas is a small occasion, rekindling memories in the same way and recording them is a warm and fuzzy Christmas day activity.

What happens then

Many families have a tech-savvy member who could collate all the stories and put them on a CD or a family website.

Family stories
Recording family stories and storing them on Family Website or Book – Wonderful

Some families have a writer who could transcribe the stories and put them into a beautiful book for all to share. You could also share any photos from that photo box under the bed that we all have – that would be amazing.

Contact Write My Journey

Alternatively, you could contact Write My Journey and we could write the stories up into a family story album, linking the stories and bring the album to life with much more.

Dementia and Life Story. A rewarding project

Dementia and Life Story can be a union that produces a wonderful family legacy. Whilst there is a lesson to be learned from obtaining the life stories of our loved ones before the onset of age and symptoms that may be associated with a decline in memory, understanding the phenomenon can help elicit communication that will be a wonderful life story.

Life Story and Dementia
A Life Story and Dementia can be a powerful union

A Salad of Information

Communication is more than the spoken word. Successful understanding and communication happens when we not only listen, but stay in the moment with the loved one and be ready to be where they are in their story telling. This salad of information can be documented as it emerged or reorganised to create a flowing narrative. Some may consider that this salad of ideas and concepts a wonderful representation of their loved one and seize as many opportunities as possible to capture experiences still stored in their mind. There is no right or wrong in either of these outcomes.Continue Reading

Samples of Letter of Life Celebration

Letter of Life Celebration – Sample 1  (excerpt only)

I am the eldest of Jim and Jo Madden’s eight children. I was named after Rosemary for remembrance and it was post World War II, and Jane my great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. Whilst I never knew my great-great-grandmother, Mary Jane Jones, I look like her. My great grandmother however, Elizabeth Jane May (nee Jones) has been in my soul since I was a little girl. Although our lives have been very different, I have always felt very connected to her. It isn’t because she showered me with gifts such as pretty dresses and teddy bears and watched me dance on the table when I was three, but because my basic nature is similar to hers.Continue Reading

A Personal Historian and Life Writing are what? Isn’t that expensive?

A Personal historian is someone who sits with you, listens to you and creates a lasting legacy in the form of a book or video of your life reflections. Life Writing is non-fictional writing that records a person’s memories to tell the story of their life or parts of their life experiences. The cost relates to what you want done. It is like a holiday where you may choose to have a wonderful camping holiday with its special intimate moments or a grand luxury stay at an international hotel. Anyway, how do you value the priceless gift of a completely personalised book on your life that will be treasured for generations?

Life Writing is one of the most dynamic fields of modern writing and is generating a lot of interest amongst people of all ages. The genre is available to all people and can the final product can be as small as you like or as big as you can afford. Usually, although not exclusively, they are private books or videos that will be handed down through generations as perhaps war medals. They also serve to share precious photographs and treasured documents amongst  family members.

Personal Historian
A Life Historian will help preserve those stories she will want to know

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