In this three-part series, Lyn Jackson of Every Story Media looks at why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, how to get started, and why she believes video is the best method.
Aging offers gifts, if we look for them—for us as we grow older, and for those who’ll come after us.
My 97-year-old uncle Joe is my last direct link to my father, Maurie, who died when I was young. On my father’s side, Joe is the family story keeper. He is now the only one who was there and knows, among so many other things, what Maurie was like growing up, how my parents met and why my mother’s parents tried to prevent them from marrying. Obviously it didn’t work!
Joe laughs when he shares stories; occasionally he tears up or even swears. But when Joe talks about his life, he’s vibrant, energetic, and engaged.
He can look back and reflect as well as look to the future, to give a rare and wonderful gift to future generations. He can give us a peek at the past—his past, his brother’s past, his entire family history.
All of us are thrilled and grateful that he took the opportunity to share his stories on video. It is an heirloom that we’ll all cherish forever.
Why Share Family Stories?
When we share family stories, it is one of the most generous and loving gifts we can give. These videotaped stories are powerful and meaningful for us today. They’ll also have a significant impact on future generations.
Family stories are the best legacy of all. Research bears this out. Both elders and baby boomers, in overwhelming numbers, believe that family history and traditions are the most important things we can leave for loved ones – ahead of a financial inheritance or even possessions. From the report: “Legacies were still about life stories and values… family traditions and history, wishes”
Stories are woven into our lives. They are a part of who we are and what defines us. Stories are a great connector. That’s one reason they’re so important to older adults. We often forget that stories are also important for children growing up.
In fact, growing up with a strong family narrative is one predictor of future happiness. A REAL family narrative that describes both the ups and downs of life. Not everything is good and fun and happy all the time. Honest narratives can teach kids how to be strong and resilient, to recover from adversity, and spring back from the kinds of challenges that all of us face sooner or later. Experts call it the “oscillating family narrative”.
A family story video can be an element of a strong family narrative; a cherished reminder of loved ones and their rich lives. The video becomes an heirloom to treasure forever and pass on to every future generation.
Turn Intentions into Actions
We have the best intentions. Too often, though we plan to record our family history, it never happens. Or sometimes footage is recorded, but gets lost or accidentally erased and the stories are gone forever. Make sure your story isn’t one that gets away.
So please begin today to preserve your family history!