Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Are you aware of financial hardships that your parents have gone through? Do you know their love story? Do you know what your grandparents occupations were?
If you knew the answers to the above questions, good news! You have a better chance at thriving through life's challenges! More on that below…
I had the opportunity to attend RootsTech this week, and one thing that was repeatedly mentioned, was the study done by Marshall Duke, a colorful psychologist that proved one of the best things you can do for your family is to create a strong family narrative. When kids know stories about family members that lived before them, they do better all around with life's challenges and are able to create success. It may sound like such a simple thing, but it has been proven over and over again that kids are better in school, not involved in risky behaviors, and successful with life in general, when they know details about the family they belong to. Makes sense to me. Don't kids join gangs because they crave that “family” feeling?
I highly urge you to read more in this NY TIMES article about the study. Trust me, you want to make time for this. If you can implement what you learn into your own family, the blessings will be incredible. This is the “secret sauce” that keeps families together.
At home with the kids? Instantly access any of these printable activity bundles to keep them learning!
Here are some creative ways I plan to create a family narrative in my own little family:
- Take the time while driving in the car to tell stories about my own growing up, as well as stories of my grandparents and those that lived before them. This will take some research on my part, but I'm not excited to do it. I specifically want to look for some silly happy memories, as well as some specific challenges and hardships that were overcome.
- DO YOU KNOW? GAME. After your children start to grasp details and stories of the past, start playing the “Do You Know” game when you have downtime (car, at dinner, etc). Ask questions like “Who knows which grandparent _____?” You could even make it fun with little treats for the first person to know the answer.
- Personalized Storybooks. My mom does this. She writes stories about our grandparents and great-grandparents and even great-great grandparents, and then she publishes them into a little story book and gives them to my children. What an incredible gift!
- Create Unique Memories of Your Own. Kids thrive on things that are new and out of the ordinary. Do things that they will remember forever. Plan a family dinner on the living room floor, stargaze from the moonroof in your car, dress up in costumes for family movie night, etc. Make life fun. Make it interesting. Make family time somewhere your kids want to be!
What you Name Your Kids. I decided when we first got married, that I wanted our kids to have names that mean something. We can choose whatever we want for the first name, but I wanted all of our middle names to either be an attribute that I want passed on to my children from their ancestors, or I want their middle name to be the name of someone inspiring. Our daughters middle names are “Grace” and “Hope” and my sons middle names will be after inspiring men from our past. Hopefully, as I tell my children stories about how their name came to pass, it will help them in developing their intergenerational self!
I would love to hear some ideas of your own!
How do you create unity in your family?