Does knowing ones heritage effect the way that he or she lives their life?In most cases, I think the answer is yes.
I have long believed that knowledge of ones heritage, ancestors and family stories changes the way that a person feels about themselves and can change the way that they live their life.
Emory University concluded in a recent study of children ages 14-16 in total 65 families.
It concluded that a child's ability to retell family stories was linked to lower instances of depression, anxiety and less acting out due to frustration and anger.
Even though it may seem that kids aren't listening, you can be pretty sure that they are. You might be surprised at how much they hear and internalize.
It most likely won't be until a real-life situation occurs that they will be able to relate the stories to their own lives. That is when you'll see the evidence that they were listening.
For example, stories of family struggles during the Great Depression, might make "belt tightening" during our economic downturn easier to muster.
There are many reason to keep journals and write family histories, but one of the most important reasons is that we need our kids to know what they are made of...and from whom they've descended.
Stories of hardship, triumph, lessons learned and morals, in general, are conveyed.
It's just that some families do it better than others (Read Flunking Family History).
It certainly helps me to hear of stories of my grandparents and great-grandparents. To know of their struggles and lessons learned positively effect my life today.
It helps put my life in perspective and usually reminds me that I don't have things that bad...in comparison.
This study was a wake up call for me. I need to take every opportunity to share family stories with my kids. It is far too easy to be lazy. And yes, I am speaking from experience.
It is vitally important that we, as parents and grandparents, do all we can to share and preserve the family stories that have been passed down to us. Then add to them, with our own autobiographical contribution.
Then ensure that it is preserved in such a way that its longevity lasts far beyond our own lifetimes.
My challenge to you is to become your family's historian.
Preserve the family stories and photos that will mean so much in the years to come. Document daily life in a journal. Keep a record of your young children's lives, too, in that journal. Become the glue between the generations that came before you and the generations that will come after.
Some of the Easiest Ways to Share Stories Are...
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1001 Things about Your Life That Your Kids Will Want to Know Someday, but Won't Think to Ask.
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