Summer memories! They’re some of the best kind. When I was asked to be the #familyhistoryfriday contributor here at Evolve, our lovely owner Krista told me that the focus of the blog was going to be about learning, growing, telling our stories, and developing our talents. This mission is what’s behind the tagline: live, grow, give. Everything about #familyhistoryfriday is focused in one way or another on those three points. When we’re talking about stories, photos, memories, family, and connections, each of those goals –live, grow, and give– quite naturally come through. The next several #familyhistoryfridays will be a series called “Giving from the Heart.” As summer wraps up, there are several ways to live, grow, and give in a way that connects families and preserves wonderful memories, stories, and photos to look back on when summer is gone.
God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” -James M. Barrie
Family history sometimes gets a bad rap. It can be viewed as one of those hobbies people pick up when they’re old and don’t have anything else to do. This reputation is unfortunate because the fact is that we all need our history. We all need our stories, and we all need our family stories. Stories connect us, give us strength, and help us realize our place not only in the world but in OUR little world of influence. What would change if you wrote down your own story? What would you learn if you wrote down your family’s story?
Have you ever thought about how your memories impact your personal growth? At first glance, it might seem that memories, or looking back, wouldn’t have much to do with growth, or moving forward. However, memories and connecting with your life’s experience actually provide tremendous personal growth. Here’s why.
Whether or not you think you’re creative, you are. (If you’ve ever said, “I’m not creative,” today’s #familyhistoryfriday post is one you especially need to read.) Creativity is not just important to personal growth– it’s important to life. We touched on creativity last week in The Importance of Hobbies to Personal Growth, so let’s dive in a little deeper. Why is creativity so important? How are “non-creative” people creative? Understanding what creativity really is and what it really looks like is the first step to using creativity for personal growth, satisfaction, and happiness.
In today’s culture of busy-ness, it can be easy to think of hobbies as an extravagance or an indulgence. However, hobbies are an important part of personal growth. Learning a new skill, developing a talent you already have, and doing something simply for the pleasure of it benefits your brain, heart, and attitude. Hobbies are good for your overall well-being. If you’re not sure what this has to do with #familyhistoryfriday, keep reading!
I think memory-keeping is magic. Memory-keeping (or preserving photos and memories in a tangible way) is great for you, great for kids, and great for families. How many ways are there to spend your time? How many of those ways help kids and families while at the same time allow you personal growth and even therapeutic effects? As we take a good look at personal growth during this month’s #familyhistoryfriday articles, you will learn surprising reasons why memory-keeping is at the top of my personal growth to-do list. And, of course, I’ll help you get starting DOING IT with simple and straightforward solutions.
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” -Kalu Kalu
This is exactly why every human heart needs his or her family history! Stories give us a foundation, something to stand on. Our experiences, our stories, shape us. There’s always something to learn or appreciate or remember from everything we go through–even difficulties. From our own stories and experiences to the life lessons learned from family history, we are responsible for making sure our legacy is shared. Family stories, including our stories as a smaller part of family stories, teach our children (and ourselves) that we can do hard things, that good times should be remembered over and over again, and that family ties can be a tremendous source of strength.
Learning, collecting, and then recording your family’s history can seem like a daunting task unless it’s broken down into parts. It’s much more than time spent on ancestor websites or recording information off headstones, though. This month on #familyhistoryfriday we have looked at many aspects of a family history: family stories, your own life story, “our” stories (such as love stories), and more. These are “bites” of family history, and they all matter!
You are the person best-equipped to tell your own story, so starting there is perfect. Who do you know and love who might need a little help or encouragement to record his or her story? It only takes a couple of generations before someone’s life story is lost to the world. My grandparents died before my children were born, so it falls to me to make sure my children know about my grandparents. I can leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the form of a written story! Today we will look at a few ideas to help you tell the story of a loved one.
The best way to begin recording family history is to start with what you know. You are most familiar with your own life, your own story. Once you have recorded your own history (which we talked about last week), think of the “our” stories you know. Maybe it’s your own love story. Maybe it’s the life stories of your parents, or the story of how your grandparents came to this country. What couple or family stories do you know? If you don’t know any, who is your resource for learning them? Let’s look at different possibilities for “our story” as part of your greater family history. See which idea resonates most with you on #familyhistoryfriday this week.
I’ve learned two important lessons in my life. I forgot the first one, but the second one is that I need to start writing stuff down. ~anonymous
As we focus this month on family history, it might surprise you to learn that an important part of family history is your own story. Connecting with yourself first through recording your own life story gives you a starting point. It also gives you a sense of belonging, peace, and gratitude. And that’s a great way to begin a story!