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!