Blow the Dust off Your Memory Box
Inside everyone’s mind is a box of memories. The older we get, the more that stash of memories grows, and just as a rare old coin increases in value, so does the knowledge in that box of memories. Like most people, you probably rarely think about the value of your own memories, but perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at what you know and why your memory box could be more like a treasure box to the rising generation.
A Notion about Emotion
In his 2016 RootsTech address, Steve Rockwood described the feelings people experience when they hear and share family stories. These feelings include love, joy, peace, happiness, sadness (when remembering loss), inspiration, connectedness, belonging, indebtedness, admiration, remembrance, and desire.
Powerful emotions and inspiring lessons are to be found in our memories—even in memories of family situations that have been less than ideal. Talking about the past and the experiences of our ancestors helps us feel connected to them and can nurture feelings of love and appreciation for the part they played in our family and in shaping who we are. Today’s youth desperately need to feel emotionally connected. Knowing their heritage provides them with stabilizing power that can anchor them. When you share your own memories and the stories you’ve been told about the family, you’re helping young people stay grounded.
Open the Box
If your memory box is collecting dust in the back of your mind, it’s time to start pulling those memories out and putting them to use. You’ll be surprised to discover what they can do for the rising generation and how many nifty (and easy) ways there are to share them.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Have “memory moments” at the dinner table or while driving in the car. Prompt your kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews (anyone young) to ask you a question about your life or the life of your parents or grandparents. Make it fun, keep it simple, be prepared for anything, and of course, be honest and age appropriate. Allow them to learn from the successes and failures of family members, including yours! You’ll be sharing stories, teaching lessons, and building stronger relationships all at the same time.