Getting Personal: How To Write Family History For Your Kids In 2013


Let’s say, with the new year now here, you’re ready to make the big leap. You’re finally going to write about your personal family history for your children.

Good for you. Still, you might be asking yourself some questions about how to go about it.

Where should I start?

Should I go chronologically or jump around in time?

How do I say to my kids what I want to say?

How can I make it memorable?

Well, all I can tell you is how I went at it. I devoted two years to keeping journals for both our kids, compiling more than 100 vignettes.

So let me start with this advice: Go at it more or less however you wish. After all, I’m me and you’re you.

You might write letters to your kids with the merriest of hearts, brimming with love and understanding. Or you might prefer to look back on your life in anger, unleashing all the bile and bitterness at your command. Or both. Or neither.

Again, that’s your prerogative. To thine own self be true, and all that.

My point is this: you’re going to have to do this on your own. You’ll have to find an approach that best suits you.

Please feel to call this strategy laissez faire (“a philosophy or practice characterized by a usually deliberate abstention from direction or interference especially with individual freedom of choice and action”).

Still, I’m going to try to be of some service to you here. So over the next five days, I’ll be posting tips about getting personal and writing about family history for your kids. How to decide what to write. How to find the time. How to do justice to your memories.

These tips as intended only as guidelines rather than some kind of guaranteed formula. My aim is simply to help you to get going in the right direction.

Remember, this is your life we’re talking about. And you know your life better than anyone else. It’s your turf, so you get to claim absolute sovereignty. You’re entitled to tell your story as you please.

So go with your gut. Do what comes naturally. Those are my only real edicts. Soon enough you’ll get into a groove.

And if you’re lucky, you’ll find your true voice. A voice your children will hear loud and clear and cherish for the ages.

P.S. – Part 2 will appear tomorrow.

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