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Story Telling: Preserving the Past

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Photo Credit: Jenny Erickson

Preserving a Legacy of Family, Faith, and Food – November 1 – December 31

You know, unless you are famous, you’re memory lasts only as long as those who knew you remember you. But your legacy – your legacy can last for generations.

This weekend my son came home from college. It was nice to see him. He brought a girl home to meet us and I was excited to meet her. Very sweet, good with all the little kids and she wasn’t scared away by our crazy family. Anyway, on Saturday night, all the family came over for my youngest grand daughter’s 1st birthday party.We’d had a wonderful day. I made some of my favorite snack recipes, including: BBQ Kabobs, Sweet and Spicy Almonds, and Amish Peanut Butter with Sliced Apples.

As the evening progressed, the kids and grand kids spent the evening listening to my husband tell stories from his childhood. Now, my husband is a pastor, but he had a very rough childhood. He has some pretty wild stories. The kids love to hear them over and over.

I didn’t grow up having much experience with any extended family members, but I have realized that kids love to hear stories from the past. While my husband can regal everyone with exciting tales of adventure and mayhem, my own childhood was rather reserved.

Mykal (my husband) still likes to tease me about the time we were sitting around a table with friends from church ten years ago and everyone was telling exciting stories from their childhood. I didn’t add anything to the conversation and when one friend finally asked me to share, I couldn’t think of anything really worth sharing. My comment was something like… “I don’t know… there was a drug bust across the street once.”

The laughter brought down the house.

So, I’ve led a rather boring life. That’s okay. I can still share stories from my past with my children. Little snippets like:

“When I was a girl, I loved to swing on the rope swing my daddy hung from the big oak tree in our yard.” OR…

“When I was little, I loved to explore in the woods or take my books and sit under a tree and read.”

Kids also love to hear stories from their own early childhood. Things they wouldn’t remember on their own. Like when I tell my daughter Laura about how she nearly died from meningitis when she was just 8 days old. I tell her how God answered our prayers and that it is a miracle she is with us and suffered no effects from the illness.

Storytelling is a way to connect the past to the present. Your children are listening. They want you to share your life with them. Teach them, talk to them, show them who you are – where they came from.

You can read all of the Preserving a Legacy posts here.

How do you share the past with your children or grand children?

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  1. All it takes around our house for stories to pour out like a rich cup of coffee is a simple invitation and a question. "Come sit with me" and then "Have you heard about the time....." Especially when the air is chilly and the days are shorter, the get out the smores ingredients or heat some water for tea or cocoa and light a fire in the fireplace. Our children, from 23 to 8, all enjoy the stories starting up! If you set the mood (fireplace, outside fire ring, snack, beverages, something really simple), offer the invitation, and start the converstation, stories just begin to pour out.....it's pretty amazing! And one of the best parts is when you hear your older children begin to repeat the stories to their friends or tell them to their special someones!

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