I decided to do a follow-up of my last post titled “Unplugged?”. It seems that this post received a number of comments that reinforced the importance of the family dinner.
Grandparents and extended family members also play an important role in the reinforcement of this “lost art.” They can make us feel connected not only to each other, but to something bigger, from the present to the past and to the future. This connection is Storytelling.
And we are the keepers of this treasure that is so important to pass on — our family histories.
This is no small thing. The power and importance of retelling family history to children is not to be underestimated. So, where does all this storytelling usually take place?
The dinner table, of course. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that with the decline of the family dinner, we have had a decline in knowledge of family lore. All the more reason to recapture the ritual of family dinner and start passing on your family stories! Ignore any eye rolling when retelling that story about Grandpa, and keep talking. Your kids are listening and receiving the message that they come from a line of people whose sacrifices, challenges, and survival have given them the lives they have today. Try these tips:
- Tell and retell and retell again all your family stories.
- Have a regular dinner date with your grandchildren…no parents allowed.
- Write and pass down your family recipes so future generations can spend time with you in the kitchen even if you aren’t there.
Children love telling and hearing about stories of their parents, grandparents and their ancestry. You could also try kicking off a story with one of the following questions:
- “Do you know the story about how your parents met?”
- “Do you know how your name was chosen, or how your parents’ names were chosen?”
- “Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences they had during their childhood?”
- “Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?”
- “What is the earliest story you know about an ancestor?”
I always loved when my Grandparents took care of us without my parents. It gave us a chance to show them what we loved to do and allowed us this special connection that only Grandparents can share. And I remember the most important connection for me was how they listened to what I was saying, and the unconditional love they gave in return. Never will I forget those precious memories!
What are your memories and favorite Grandparent or extended family connections? Storytelling is such an important facet of the family dinner. Join our discussion on Storytelling. How does this impact your family?
And, as always, I am…a grateful Boomer Explorer.