Two days ago my blog was about my mother-in-law being an English war bride from World War II, and how I documented my in-laws courtship in a photo book. I felt it was important that my grandkids know the story (and ALL the stories) of their great-grandparents' tale of love from a world war.
But I need to add this, as it's very important. Four years ago, my sister-in-law took her mother back to England. She documented that sweet trip in another photo book...again for our children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews. I can't stress enough the importance of telling these stories.
But there's an added blessing in doing so. Several years ago, I attended a writing institute, and they had a saying in that workshop, "How can I know what I think until I see what I've written." As my sister-in-law created the book to document their trip, she gained new insights as to the trip's real meaning. Here...I'll let her tell you in her own words:
Four years ago I took a trip that changed my life. I took my mother to England to meet and visit with family. I met sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, second cousins, aunts, and so many others. But the person I truly enjoyed meeting the most was my mother. Yes, my mother. As she used to be. I saw her in a whole new light; I understood her more than I ever thought possible, and I loved her so much more deeply and honestly. I walked the paths she walked as a child, I visited childhood homes and cemeteries where most of her family is now. I saw the places my dad rode on his bike everyday as he was stationed there during the war. On a beautiful Sunday morning, I stood by my mother in the church where she and dad were married so long ago.Through her eyes I saw that sixteen-year-old English lass about to embark on a great adventure. Coming to America and eventually home to Texas.
Two months after that trip, my dad passed away. I understood my mother's deep loneliness because I had been there in that little English village...in that beautiful country church. I had seen where their love came from, and I understood.
I saw all the sights of London, and some beautiful English countryside, and I made a lot of memories, but seeing my mom's memories through her eyes completely made the trip.
Tell those family stories!
You'll be so glad you did. And it's not just a matter of documenting family trips, reunions, and celebrations, you'll gain new insights about yourself. That's an added plus.
Since this is a blog for grandparents, I know most of my readers are around my age. The time to tell those family stories (and YOUR STORY) is NOW!
Sharing your Family's History~
This Thanksgiving season is a time when we give thanks for our family and all our many blessings. Wouldn't it be a perfect time to share the story of your family's history?
My husband has been going through boxes and boxes of his family's photos and mementos. His father was stationed in England during World War II. There he met his bride, a young English girl whose father's farm backed up to the air base where he served. My husband discovered all his dad's photos of their courtship and his time in England in one of those boxes. What a treasure! I decided I HAD to put those photos in a book and tell the story of their love's beginning for their children, grand children and great-grandchildren. It's important to tell our children their family history.
According to an article in Parade magazine by Bruce Feiler ("The Secrets to a Happy Family," February 17, 2013): "The more children know about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem."
Bruce continues with the reason for this--"These children have a strong sense of 'intergenerational self'--they understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves and that families naturally experience both high and lows."
After reading that article, I knew I had to share this history and love story from World War II!
The instructions are like all my books I've blogged about so far--gather all the old photos you have, appropriate for a book, and scan them, saving them to a file on your computer. Then go to your favorite bookmaking site and follow their directions for downloading those photos and adding text. I've listed various sites at the end of this blog. Since I have a Mac, I used the bookmaking app contained in "Projects" within IPhoto.
I actually gave this book to my grands for Valentine's Day several years ago. They were quite young so I kept the text very simple, And actually the pictures tell the story.
Since the time is approaching Thanksgiving, I've read, and I'm sure you have too, that the Thanksgiving feast is a great time to interview family members that you don't often see. Another way to get more of your family's story.
Sure hoping that you'll take the opportunity to somehow record your family's story for future generations--either in a scrapbook, a book, or video format. The ideas are endless. I happen to agree with Bruce Feiler--it can make a big difference in your grandchildren's self esteem. Everyone should know their history! Just do it!
Books for adults:
The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler
Books for children:
"The Blessing Cup" by Patricia Polacco
"Keeping Quilt" by Patricia Polacco
"Knots on a Counting Rope" by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
Websites for bookmaking:
Be sure to put your grand in an apron--that's half the fun. Then get out all ingredients and equipment. I did let my granddaughter measure the ingredients. I even let her chop the apples. First I peeled and cut the apple in big chunks. Then she did the rest of the cutting herself with a plastic nice. Very safe.
You can plan an activity around just about any book your grand enjoys. Simply read the book and see what extended activity the book suggests in your mind. The possibilities are endless. Favorite books for 4-5 age groups are many. Reading "Be Nice to Spiders"? Make a spider--and a 3-dimensional one is really fun. Dr. Seuss' "One Fish, Two Fish"? Make a fish on a line! Another favorite that's still available for this age group is "George and Martha." Instead of making Martha's split pea soup, make her chocolate chip cookies! A never-ending array of choices when enriching the book experience with your grand! Always fun for both generations!
I know my readers have extended various reading activities with your grands--whether it was writing your own books based on a favorite book, cooking or doing some art activity. Please write me and share. I would love to hear.
Books mentioned today that are a favorite of preschoolers:
"George and Martha" by James Marshall
"Be Nice to Spiders" by Margaret Bloy Graham
"Swimmy" by Leo Lionni
"One Fish, Two Fish" by Dr. Seuss
"The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle
Great blog for children's art ideas~ artbarblog.com
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!