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Family History Stories

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 26 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
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Every family has a history rich with interesting characters and fascinating tales. Unless they are shared though, these stories will be lost, so it is important to pass on family history by telling them to each new generation. Children often have special relationships with their grandparents and find it fun to listen to tales of people and places that the grandparents remember. Each story that grandparents pass on to the grandkids keeps a bit of family history alive.

Start Young

Small children love to snuggle up to listen to a story. Rather then merely reading from books, grandparents can take advantage of this time to begin a tradition of sharing family stories. Grandchildren would especially enjoy stories about the antics of their parents and other family members as youngsters. As the children grow and mature, the storytelling sessions will naturally evolve into more complex tales.

Connecting the Generations

Family is important. The very first teachers that young children have are typically close family members who give children a sense of what the world is like. Telling stories about the accomplishments of family members is a good way to foster family pride, so grandparents shouldn't be shy about sharing the best attributes of the family's history in the form of stories.

Oftentimes, children are surprised to discover that they have much in common with the unfamiliar faces that they see in old family photos. Talking about the artists, athletes, scientists or other family members who exhibited special skills and talents similar to those of the children will help the kids to feel connected to the generations that came before them.

Heroic tales of family members are sure to appeal to school aged kids, so grandparents will have willing audiences for stories about bravery and family members who stood in the face of danger to overcome obstacles. These types of stories can also serve as opportunities for grandparents to approach the difficulties that the family may be currently experiencing with their grandchildren. Illness, uncertainty, and times of financial difficulty are parts of most every family's history, but by telling kids about family members who have triumphed over hardship, kids can be better prepared to cope with the hurdles that they encounter in their own lives.

Preserving Family Stories

In addition to merely passing on family stories orally, grandparents may wish to write the tales down in order to preserve the memories for generations to come. A simple journal works well for most people, while those who have an artistic streak may prefer to create scrapbooks or memory books with their grandchildren. The use of family photos and other memorabilia can help to document events, helping future generations to maintain a connection to their ancestors. A simple family tree, going back as many generations as possible, will help youngsters to understand their relationship to the characters in family stories, so including one with the journals can be quite useful.

Making Stories Come to Life

While very young children are usually satisfied with simple stories, it may be helpful to use tangible props in order to hold the attention of older kids. Grandma's attic probably holds a variety of items that grandchildren would find fascinating. Almost without exception, each of those items comes with a story. An old wedding dress, service medals, newspaper clippings, trophies, and even long forgotten dinnerware can evoke memories of times gone by, each a part of family history. Allowing grandchildren to help sort through stored belongings is a great way for grandparents to share stories with their grandkids -- and to finally get that dusty old attic all cleaned up!

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