Why do you think it’s important to share family history with children? Why do you do it?
There are so many ways I can answer these two questions but the bottom line for me can be summed up pretty well in this short video of my little one:
When he was somewhere in his second year of life, he developed his first little mole on his arm. It was really bothering him and he kept asking about it. He was finally okay with that little mole when I told him it was an angel kiss. From that moment on, every freckle and mole on any of us was an angel kiss.
A while later he started asking who the angel was that was kissing us. I don’t recall our exact conversation, but the end result was that he believed that my Grandma – Margaret – was the angel that was giving us all kisses.
Whenever I can, I tell him special little things about her and my Grandpa and other family members. I keep it very simple. Slowly he is learning little things. But of all those little tid-bits, the one thing that I really want him to know is that he is loved. That he has a place in the fabric of our family. That he is connected to those who came before and to those who will come after.
That is the part he understands completely.
In fact, he regularly says little things about the Grandma who loves him. The one who gives him all of the angel kisses.
Those moments happen at random times. Like when he is watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Daniel’s little sister Margaret is mentioned. Suddenly I hear him say, “Ooooh, she has the same name as the angel Grandma! She loves me, doesn’t she mom.” This sweet declaration is usually followed by a hug from my darling little boy.
Preparing my children for the things they will face throughout their lives in a daunting task. Giving them a strong foundation when they are young makes all the difference. I believe that one of the key ingredients for that strong foundation is knowing where they come from and who came before them. Family History has the power to strengthen the foundation we lay for our children’s lives.
As Bruce Feiler said, “The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.”
I choose to share our Family’s history with my children, my nieces and nephews, and my cousin’s children whenever I can. I do it because I know it makes them stronger and more resilient. I do it because I want them to feel loved, not just by those they can see, but by the countless other family members who are no longer living. I do it because it matters.
Family History is not just for old people. Family History is for everyone – especially for children.
This post was written for the blog link-up Why Share Family History with Children hosted by Nicole over at The Family Locket Blog. Thank you Nicole!
32 thoughts on “Family History for Little Ones”
Many of us learn our family history as children when our families include us in the conversations about those who have passed on. We also learn through hearing the family stories. This is a lovely posting.
Thank you EmilyAnn! I completely agree. I was always sitting with the adults and listening to stories. Now, I am so glad that I did that. 🙂
Family History begins with stories. Many genealogists begin their journey with stories. And nearly everyone has a family story they love to tell, even if they don’t want to do genealogy research. Thanks for sharing the stories with your little ones about their grandparents.
Thank you Devon! I couldn’t agree more, I definitely began my journey with stories. My grandparents told me countless stories and now they are both gone. Those stories are among my greatest treasure. 🙂
What an adorable boy you have! But, then, you already know that! 😀
Thank you Linda – he really is my treasure. 🙂
Sweet little guy. My grandmas are my angels, too.
Thank you Jana. 🙂
I think you may know from my blog that it was the birth of my first grandson that first started my thinking about and eventual researching of my family history. Until that point, I’d had little interest. But when Nate was born, suddenly I had the realization that he was the next link in a very long chain, and I wanted him to know about his great-great-grandparents—so first, I had to learn. Nate saw my novel and asked me about it. Later my daughter told me that he told her that he also wanted to write a book about his family. He’s six and already knows more about his history than I did when he was born. Great post!
Thank you Amy! I love that your grandson’s birth was your beginning. Now look how far you have come – you are a fantastic researcher. What a cool story. I also love that he has a love for his family history at such a young age. You have made his life so much richer through your efforts. What a great example. 🙂
Thanks! I have told him some stories about his great-great-grandfather, and he is named for my husband’s father, so he’s heard lots of stories about him also. And he’s very blessed to know himself my parents, his great-grandparents.
I love this part “Family History is for everyone – especially for children.” Knowing the stories of my family help me teach my children. Thank you for sharing your story and I loved the “kisses” video!
Thank you Amy! 🙂
I agree completely. Family history should be a part of children’s lives. Knowing from where they come helps them feel more a part of their family… of the world at large.
I agree! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂
I couldn’t agree more. I learned my first “family history” lessons in my mother’s storytelling, and I’ve tried to do the same with my boy. When he was much younger (supervised bath-time younger), I used the time to tell him stories about my extended family. He calls them the “shoe-down-the-river” stories (one did involve a tale of my brother floating my shoes away on a family holiday), and still talks about them even now. My son is an only child and has grown up half a world away from my family. These stories, and the family photos that hang in our hallway, are his only links to this part of his heritage. I love your idea of “angel kisses” Amberly; what a wonderful way to make your son feel ok about the moles.
Thank you Su. “Shoe-down-the-river” stories – I love that! I wish I could take credit for the angel kisses idea, I have no idea why that popped into my head, but it sure fixed his worries. Then later he noticed that his oldest brother has LOTS of moles and wanted to know why the angels loved him more. I told him that big brother just got himself into more trouble and needed more looking after. I hope that one doesn’t come back to bite me. 😉
Hehe. We never know when what we say in love to our kids will take on a life of its own. They can be so funny in how they interpret things.
Yes they can! It is one of the joys. 🙂
Everyone likes stories – and family stories are extra special.
They really are. 🙂
Angel kisses – so sweet. I never knew my grandmother, but as I’ve researched her family I’ve felt her close. Family history and family stories are the best! Thanks for sharing .
Thank you Diana. I love the connection I feel while I am researching someone. 🙂
What a cute story! Thank you for sharing this! I loved the video of your little boy and how he knows he is loved. Family history really is for kids and it can have such a powerful influence!
Thank you Alexis. 🙂
Have you checked out Emily’s Growing Little Leaves website/blog? She has lots of great advice for getting kids involved in genealogy. She was on a panel at Rootstech.
Yes, I went to that class actually! She and I are both part of a closed Facebook group for mom genealogists. Thank you for thinking of me. 🙂