Did you hear the story of the Victorian grandmother who stripped down to her foundation garments to keep cool on hot days? She answered the door and frightened the postman. “Oh, dear lady!” he shrieked as he covered his eyes in shame.
And what about the story reminding you how grandfather banged his fists on the table before dessert and led his grandchildren in the chant, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream, Tra! La! LA!”
Holidays like Thanksgiving create the perfect time to tell and retell family stories. They enrich a child’s understanding of family and the bonds that connect generations. Stories about travels, traditions, and wars make their heritage real. Even young ones are able to discern voices and generational differences. It draws children in to hear stories that deepen their understanding of time family lore and loved ones’ experiences that may span a century.
Mine is a family that likes to linger at the table after dessert and that lingering invites conversation that turns to family storytelling. Some years I’ve taken videos of these priceless times. These videos become part of my family heirlooms–storytelling by beloved family members that will be preserved for a long time. I’m deeply grateful for that.
- Listen to family stories this Thanksgiving. Then talk about them in the car. Ask your child, “What do you remember most?”
- Bring a recording device so you can preserve the storytelling.
- Participate in the National Day of Listening http://nationaldayoflistening.org/ on Friday, November 29, 2013. A part of StoryCorps, you can record your own interview with a loved one.