You’ve accumulated a lifetime of assets and a house full of possessions, but something your family members are longing for you to preserve are your stories. Maybe your family is one of those that enjoys sharing stories on special occasions. Then you know the thrill when a younger family member begs you to re-tell one of their favorites. That right there is the answer to the question: Which stories should I write down?

But what if you don’t have a list of Top Hits? I once talked to a Grandmother who was getting the most amazing gift from her grandkids. She gets regular emails from them with story requests. “Grandma, tell us about…” or “What was it like when you…?” As soon as she completes one of these assignments, she gets another. What a beautiful connection!

If you’re unsure where to start with your storytelling, here are some ideas:

  • Place yourself in history. How did historic events impact you? Or, how did you impact an historical event?
  • What’s a decision you made that changed the trajectory of your life? How did you feel in that pivotal moment?
  • Share a memory of another family member. Describe what made them special to you.
  • Talk about an awkward moment, or something that didn’t turn out as planned. This kind of story can help you relate to younger family members. You might even make them laugh.
  • Talk about things that are important to you. This may be a job, a hobby, or a way you connect to your community.
  • Keep in mind that things you considered ordinary in your youth might astound the youth of today. For example, I wrote a simple story about my Dad and his Whizzer motorbike.

In all of your storytelling, be sure to add plenty of sensory details. Describes tastes, smells, the environment, enjoyment or discomfort. Your family members want to know what it was like when you were their age. You may be surprised how much they can relate.

Your family is waiting to hear from you. Time to start writing.

If you’d like help writing your personal history, get in touch!

Copyright Liz Behlke 2018