First Assignment: Start with Yourself
I hope that you will join with me as I start to unfold the steps that you can take to pull together a family history that might knock the socks off the rest of your family!
As our days get busy with kids and life in general, we can put ourselves in the background. Get your appointment book out and set a time to write down your own timeline. Spreadsheets work great for this because you can insert lines to add new pieces of information. No need to start hyper-ventilating yet.
Let’s start at the very beginning… You were born, so add that date at the top. If you take a few moments, you can quickly figure out the years that you were in kindergarten and continue through college. Go ahead and add those as well. If you are married, then there is another date to add. See, it isn’t so hard. It just takes a few minutes to get started. Then as you have a few minutes each day or even once a week, you can continue to insert more dates as they come to you. By the way, this helps for resumes as well! Let’s even go so far as to start a file folder on your computer or filing cabinet of choice that will quickly become a favorite for sure.
Once you have some dates, challenge yourself to think of some stories. Write them down. I’m going to take some stress out of this by saying that you don’t have to write these stories in any particular order. A few years ago, my youngest daughter started asking me at bedtime to tell stories about when I was little. Sometimes, it took me a little bit to come up with a story that I thought was worthy to tell. But soon, I figured out that what she really wanted to hear was simply what life was like when I was little. It helped to think about subjects like summer, special events, holidays, and toys. You get the idea… She loved the stories so much that she asked every night for those stories and what I found was that I actually did have some pretty darn adorable stories that I could relate to her.
You can tell where I am going with this, can’t you? Yes, now these seemingly random batch of stories need to be put into writing. How can we pass on our family histories if we don’t include ourselves? Think of this as one of the most important things you can do for your family. If you don’t have kids yet, that’s okay as well. Think of it as the beginnings of your own biography so when you become rich and famous, you will have a head start! Then plug these stories into the spreadsheet as well; label them with a quick title so that you can easily tell which story they belong with.
By the way, it’s been a couple of years and my youngest still asks for me to relate the story of when I was a little girl and went to my first public pool. All the girls had to wear those funny caps with flowers on the sides to keep our hair kind of dry and out of the pool’s drainage system. Mine worked really well and when it came time for a body-check by the lifeguards, everyone got out of the pool except for me. Imagine this little girl in the pool having the time of her life swimming in clear water with people standing along side of the pool all waving at me! I thought it was neat and waved greetings back! Since I grew up swimming in lakes, I didn’t realize that they cleared everyone out. My mom kept waving and saying something to me but with that cap on my head and over my ears, I couldn’t hear a thing. Too funny as I remember it now and my daughter really starts to giggle when she hears me retell this most embarrassing story. If I remember right, I don’t think that we went back to that pool though! And yes, the picture attached to this entry is my photo from 1967.
I’ve told you one of my stories, now take a few minutes and write down one of your own! Come on… You can do it! What is the first story to come to your mind?