The following guest post is from Janna at Mommy’s Piggy Tales:
One thing that often gets neglected as we run through our days is story telling and story keeping. In the long run, we would all agree that preserving our story for the ones we love is more valuable than many of our urgent tasks, and yet “write out the stories my childhood” never makes it onto our to do list.
My grandmother was a senior in high school in 1947, and some wise and wonderful English teacher gave her the assignment to write one page about each year of her life from her birth up to her current age. She kept this assignment and recently added to it and gave it to us for Christmas. This has been the most AMAZING gift I have ever received.
Growing up on a farm in Kansas she recalls her pet goat “Billy,” dressing up lambs as babies, and raising chicks with her sister so that they could earn enough money to buy a bicycle to share. She spoke of her fear at the age of eleven when Pearl Harbor was bombed, and her confusion about what it all meant. In high school she served as the editor for the school paper. I love being able to read her story and knowing that it is connected to mine.
My grandmother’s life stories taught me that my story, like yours, is valuable and needs to be heard, but it is not going to get recorded unless I set aside the time and recognize how worthwhile the process and the product will be.
Here are some tips for organizing the memories of your childhood and teenage years.
1. Gather Your Materials
Yearbooks, baby books, photo albums, awards, video and audio recordings, letters, old toys, phone numbers of relatives, scrapbooks, diaries, journals, and art work are all part of your story and will help you remember things you might have forgotten otherwise.
2. Talk to Family, Involve Them in the Process
Give your siblings, parents, or friends a call and laugh and learn as you put the bits and pieces of your memories together to recall stories from your past.
3. Make Writing a Scheduled Habit
One of the main reasons I started my newest blog, Mommy’s Piggy TALES, was to create a weekly accountability for myself and other women to record our youth together. We post stories about a specific age every Thursday and link them up. It’s a fun way to reminisce together about our growing up years.
4. Share Your Stories with Others
As you write down your stories, be sure to email, post, or read the final product to others. Their appreciation for your work will motivate you to continue writing.
5. Make it a Family Event
Pass out lined cards with questions on them, like the lifeprints from Cherish Bound, at the next family gathering and ask your family to write down one of their special memories.
6. Don’t Worry About Being Exhaustive
Write one story at a time. Don’t worry about getting every detail perfect. Start with the stories that you know and love best.
7. Realize the History, Value, and Beauty of Your Story
Writing your story is not self-centered. Do your children know about the trials you faced that made you the person you are today? Have you shared with them that you used to fear many of the things that they fear as a child?
8. The Process is Healing, Gratifying, and Connective
Many of the women participating in Mommy’s Piggy TALES have sent me emails saying how healing the process of remembering their youth has been. Women are connecting in a deeper way with their siblings and parents as they remember their family stories. Amber’s father commented, “all of these stories are making me cry.”
9. Your Stories Are a Priceless Gift
I’m always on the hunt for meaningful gifts. Recording your youth is a gift that outlasts you. Will you give it?
If you are interested in going on this journey with myself and other women, I would encourage you to read my post 5 Easy Steps to Record Your Youth. I will start a second session on October 7, 2010 and I would love to add you to the list of participants.
What obstacles keep you from writing about your childhood and teenage years?