Nine Ways for Grandparents to Pass On Family Stories
God has placed grandparents in the uniquely designed position within the family to be the rememberers.
As the patriarchs and matriarchs, it is our job to remember and to tell. And there’s so much to tell – our family stories, our personal stories (the testimony of God’s work within our life), and the goodness and greatness of God.
But where do we begin?
9 Ideas for Telling the Story
Gather and Tell
Whenever our family gathered, one of the things my children looked forward to most was hearing grandpa tell his stories – even the ones he’d told millions of times before.
The stories held such a special place in their hearts that once they were grown, the kids gathered some of their favorites and made them into a book.
Verbal storytelling brings the stories to life and provides structure for fragmented memories so gather the family and hone those storytelling skills.
Journal Your Stories
Don’t cringe. Journaling can take many forms. You simply need to find the one that works for you.
Yes, our stories can be recorded in a traditional journaling style – handwritten memories formed into paragraphs. But if that’s not your style, try capturing your stories by jotting them down in bullet list form or typing them into the computer. And don’t forget scrapbooks. Holding both our words and memorabilia in the form of ticket stubs, programs, and photos, scrapbooks provide a exceptional link to our stories.
Make a Family Tree
Create your tree on your own or involve the entire family. With names and dates and even photos in front of them, grandchildren become more engaged with and connected to their family story. They come to know who they are and from where they came.
Not an artist? No worries. A simple interest search will yield a plethora of styles and formats. Try typing in “free family tree template” or something similar.
Photos can be a powerful way to help connect our grandchildren to our stories. Pictures put faces and places to our words.
Organize your photos. Then the albums will be ready for you to pull out and share with your grandchildren at any time.
Most kids love technology. Check with your grandchild’s parents, and if you receive the okay, challenge your grandchildren to help you put together a video.
Apps such as Animoto and iMovie are great tools for making videos. Whether your video is tells your family history, portrays the story of your life, or declares the work of God, log on and let your collective creativity shine.
Did you know that family history can be lost in the span of 3 generations?
If you can get to any of the members of your family’s older generations, grab your pen and paper and go spend some time with them. Draw out their story by asking good questions. Then share it with the younger generations.
A Personalized Bible
Tell your story, the story of God’s goodness and greatness, through a personalized Bible for your grandchildren.
Purchase a Bible for this purpose (a journaling Bible will provide plenty of margin for your handwritten notes). Over the course of several years, record your thoughts, reflections, questions, and personal notes to your grandchild in the Bible’s margins. Gift this precious treasure to your grandchild for a milestone birthday or other event.
Pull Out the Family Recipes
Family Recipes are a yummy vehicle for remembering.
Get your grandchildren into the kitchen and cook up a family recipe. As you cook, talk. Share the history of the recipe. Want to get some more mileage out of your family recipes? Create a cookbook of family recipes.
Get Out of the House When Allowed
Schedule a “remembering” family vacation or day trip when you can. Take your grandchildren to the places where their family members have lived and walked. Help them connect to relatives they otherwise could never know. Show them from where they come.
While you are out and about, don’t forget cemeteries. Visits to family gravesites are an insightful way to help grandchildren connect.