All of us have stories to tell – the stories in our lives. The best author of those stories are ourselves, not someone searching family history a hundred years from now. If you think that the events that happen to you in your daily life don’t matter, think again. They do matter, because those events add up to create our lives.
There are a number of interesting ways that we can record the stories in our lives for our posterity – our children and grandchildren. What we leave behind for them can help them to make sense of who they are, and they will be able to see that the lessons we learned can help them in their daily lives too. “You mean Grandpa actually got suspended from school for fighting?” or “Wow, I didn’t know Grandma looked for a job for a whole year before she got that job at the newspaper. She worked there for 30 years; I bet she’s glad she didn’t give up her job hunt before the year was up.”
Write your life history: Similar to writing an autobiography. Outline your life chronologically; pick out one or two important life-changing events in each five year period and write about them. The lessons you learned, spiritual testimony if that applies, what you would do differently if you could. Don’t make it all serious; add some funny events and light-hearted moments. Include a list of favorites: movies, songs, TV shows, etc. to identify the era you are writing about.
Record your life history: The human voice is unique to each individual. Rarely will two people ever sound alike. The sound of someone’s voice can instantly transport you to memories of another time. People who have lost loved ones often say that one of the things they miss most is that person’s voice, or their laugh. If you don’t want to write your life history, then speak it into a recorder. Today, digital recorders are small enough to fit in a purse or pocket, and you can tell your life history in spare moments in your day. Don’t worry about transcribing the tapes; leave that for the future family historian. Just label the completed tapes with your name, date recorded, and main subject on the tape and leave the rest to someone else in a later time. Store them in an airtight container or safe deposit box, and let someone else know where they are.
Photo history: Photos are an excellent way to augment a written or oral life history, but they can’t do the whole job. We all need to do our life history to share the stories in our lives and then we add the pictures! Be sure to record the date of a picture, where it was taken and who’s in it. Nothing worse than finding a picture and trying to guess who the people are.
There are many ways we can share the stories of our lives with our posterity. The important thing is to get started! Do a little each day; don’t put it off.
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