BECKY HODGSON, PARENT LIAISON
HAWTHORNE AND LONGFELLOW ELEMENTARIES
While we share a meal this Thanksgiving, why not consider sharing some family stories with our children? Many of us can look back on our childhood with fond memories of the colorful stories our parents or grandparents told us. Those stories not only shed light on who our elders were but opened our eyes and our understanding of what life was like in a different time and place.
Research shows that children’s lives are enriched in many ways through the stories their families share.
Stories can be a great way to convey funny or eccentric family moments. Sharing family hardships or challenges and how your family recovered is a wonderful way to illustrate resilience. Describing times when you had your feelings hurt or felt left out as a child, helps our children to know that they are not alone in their feelings. Sharing our stories both past and present, feeds the connection our children need, one that says I belong to this family.
Studies show that children and adolescents who come from families where stories are shared and who know about their family history, have higher self-esteem, higher levels of emotional well-being, an improved self-concept and a stronger sense of control over their lives. They have a feeling of belonging to something larger than themselves.
Strengthening the connection between generations can be done through the gift of sharing a story. Encourage your children to interview and record their grandparents’ or other elders’ stories this Thanksgiving. PBS has a helpful website which offers tips for setting up successful interviews and suggestions for questions to get things started.
You can also visit Story Corps https://storycorps.org/, a radio show that sponsors the Great Thanksgiving Listen. They are encouraging youth to interview an elder and share their story with the world.
This Thanksgiving, start a new tradition; create connection that will last for generations through your family narrative.