By now I hope you can see that it is the stories behind the names and dates that make your family history meaningful. But don’t just be a story collector; weave your family stories into everyday life—bedtime stories, family vacation travel time, meal time, holidays. In 2005 scientists at Emory University’s Center on Myth and Ritual in American Life, studied family conversations and how they affect children.
They studied children between the ages of 9 and 12 and those children’s exposure to family stories told by parents and grandparents. When they followed up with those children a few years later,
they found that the children who heard stories about their families from the time before they were born were more secure, and had a stronger sense of self and better self-esteem. Knowing our family history affects our sense of who we are, our sense of meaning, even about what it is to be human. (For the full quote, and links to the study see Daniel Hubbard’s blog post on Personal Past Meditations- a Genealogical Blog)
When I was young, our family went on many camping trips and outings to the racetrack to watch my dad race stock cars. His trademark was Yogi Bear, which he had painted on the side of his car. We explored Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts in every kind of camping vehicle imaginable: we’ve had a Scotty, a Metzendorf, tents, tent-trailers and even a few of my dad’s own creations.
My dad didn’t often get many vacation days, so sometimes we’d pick a camping site that was nearby and he would go to work, then come and join us there at the end of the day. My sister and I never noticed that he wasn’t around much on these trips as we were so busy playing, but once as an adult I passed a small campground near our home and recognized it (small pond out front with a large rock in the middle) as a place we had camped as children. I asked mom why we had chosen a site so close to home and she told me about wanting to give us kids a fun vacation but not having the time or means to go anywhere very far.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, when I share our famous TENT story!
This post is part of the A-Z Challenge 2014