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 Your Story

The story of you and your life is one of a kind. No one else has the same story to tell and no one else's story is any more interesting or important than yours. Keep those thoughts in mind as you relive your past and recall your memories. Also remember that it isn't the events that are as important as the people. Your goal should be to capture, for the generations to follow, the essence of who you are. Your character, your ideas, your point of view, and your "little ways" are what the next generations are going to be hungry to learn. How you dealt with the flood is more important, in this case, than how much rain you got. How you felt the day your first child was born is, in this case, more important than the birth itself. Your response to your life, your choices and how you made them, and your principles and ideals all helped make you who you are.

Who you are spills over, either by heredity or example, on your family and friends. It is interesting to know the names of your ancestors and the dates they lived. But it is even more fun to know WHO they were. What were they like, what made their hearts sing? What were their strengths and weaknesses? And can you find aspects of yourself that you can trace back to them?

A few tips for telling family stories:

Let story telling take you wherever it leads. No need to stick to any particular topic or even any particular storyteller. If a "story starter" doesn't apply to you, modify it 'til it does or find someone else in the family who can tell that story.

Emotions may run high. Let them. Some stories are hilarious, some are sad to the point of heartbreak. Feel them all. Honor them with your honest feelings and pass them along in the same spirit.

Don't get caught up in unimportant fine points. It doesn't matter whether it was April or June, let the storyteller tell his/her own version without corrections.

Enjoy the process. Put differences aside if only for a little while and bask in the connections that family storytelling brings to all members of the family.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, RECORD YOUR STORIES. While you may remember it, unless you permanently record it, your great grandson may never have the chance to know that particular story. The Storybook has space for writing stories but you can record them anyway you like, audio tapes, CD's DVD's any system that works for your family.