Like most parents we have our night-time routines. Also, like most parents these routines involve bathing, brushing teeth, putting dirty laundry away… normal things. Each night as our children lay their beautiful heads on their pillows before we pray for them we have a story time. Story time involves lots of different things. Sometimes it comes in the form or reading a book together as a family. (This is my personal favorite, as it gives me a chance to open my boys’ minds to literature and awaken their own imaginations.) However, this post is not about reading stories as much is it is about verbally sharing stories with our children.
Since my boys were toddlers we have delighted in telling them our childhood stories. These are things that we have done either on our own, with family/siblings, or with friends. This has been a favorite pastime for our boys for as long as I can remember. Many nights their voices little and not so little have begged “tell us a story”… and my husband and I have been all too happy to comply. We don’t do this for vanities sake. We do this because it makes them laugh, because it shows our children we are fallible, and because it is allowing our children to see how we lived and how we became who we are.
When sharing these stories do we tell them everything? No, of course not. There are things that we may omit either because they are not appropriate or merely because we may not remember. That is not the point, the point is to share with them things that made us who we are today. In a long time since past people shared stories with their children as a form of history, legacies were passed down this way. I don’t think that our sharing is much different from that. There is usually some sort of moral to be taken from the stories we share. These may be a difficulty we have learned to deal with or possibly a mistake we had to learn from. On the other hand it may just be something silly that we have done that we like to share for a laugh. We want to share things that our children will learn from, Lord knows as they grow they will make their own mistakes, have their own challenges and struggles. If we can help them by sharing some of our “teachable” moments then I believe their lives will be richer for it!
Sharing your life with your children is priceless. Giving them a chance to catch a glimpse of what your life was like growing up is valuable. Life has changed in the past 20+ years and it is fun for your children to hear just how different things are. You may never know what strikes a chord with them and speaks to their very most inner being. My children will never understand landlines or rotary telephones. They will never understand that when MTV was created it was solely for music videos and not reality tv. They cannot comprehend a world that does not include “Google” or the internet, and have no idea what a typewriter is. Everything had to be hand written and penmanship was a prized skill. Calculators were available, however we still had to use abacuses to do math. Life is just so different now. We are living in the information age and our children are being inundated and over-stimulated by all things electronic. It can be of great service to them to show them how far we have come in such a short period of time.
Nothing makes me smile more than hearing my children recant a story they have been told to their uncles or grandparents. It usually sparks a “oh yeah, I remember that…” and a smile (most of the time.) I also love to hear them ask for a specific story over and over again. They have their favorites, as we do. If you are saying to yourself I didn’t have a great childhood, or my life was boring… stop and think about how different life is now from the days of your youth. Think about the things you wished someone would’ve said to you as you were growing up. These are all things that we can impart to our kids. You may be saying I just don’t have the time. Please keep in mind that your children will never be this young again… each day they grow so – MAKE TIME! Take a moment to share with your kids. Sometimes it’s difficult and we don’t know where to start, I can empathize. I often think ‘how do I want my children to remember me?’ What is the legacy I am leaving behind. My advice to you is to start a tradition of your own… Tell your stories to your children and watch them gobble it up! Life is so full of richness if you just take the time to see it! Your children will treasure the time you have spent with them and the stories of your life. Leave a legacy.