a special feature from Leslie Zinberg, co-founder grandparentslink
All grandparents have stories. Every one of us. It is up to us to pass on our history to our grandchildren. When I think back to my own grandparents, there is so much of their history that has not been identified, that they did not tell my cousins and me. Now I am loaded with questions, and there is no one to ask. In other words, don’t wait. Tell your grandchildren all about who you are, where you came from, who your parents are, your grandparents. Tell stories. Show pictures. Talk about your past.
When your grandchildren hear about the family history, they feel a deeper connection to their past. It provides an even stronger foundation, promoting self-esteem, and a clear sense of belonging. Through family stories, you can instill family values, faith, and ethics. And, children get excited to hear about your life, your experience, and your growing-up anecdotes.
Of course, we know the stories of our own sons and daughters, and boy, do the grandkids love to hear those narratives! They love to hear how their dad or mom got in to mischief, how he or she made mistakes (and learned from them), what their favorite toys and stuffed animals were, how good or not so good they were at playing a particular sport, their favorite sayings, their favorite movies or television shows, their relationships with siblings and friends. When you tell these stories, you are educating your grandchildren. Add the humor, the sentiment, their likes and loves. You are spinning magical tales with your grandkids that they can hold to, and then share as they grow older.
Here are a few ideas of how to share family stories:
- Show a family tree or make one.
- Write a history of the family.
- Take your grandchildren to see the house where you grew up, and where their parents grew up. Show them where you went to school, college, church, or synagogue.
- Create a family cookbook with your parents’ (their great grandparents) favorite recipes so they can be handed down over and over.
- Show old family pictures, and look at old photo albums, talking about how you grew up, and how your grandchildren’s parents grew up.
- Make a collage showing the generations of the family.
- Sing old songs that were meaningful to you, or popular as you were growing up.
- Do you have artwork that you kept from your grandchildren’s parents? If so, bring those out. Or a baby book?
As grandparents, we hold so many of these stories in our hearts and in our minds. Let’s enlighten our grandchildren with our histories…