You've probably heard this quote before. "The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." It's so true, as is the inverse. Knowing that they are nestled safe not just within a loving nuclear family, but within a loving network of extended family, is huge for kids. The other night I came home to the sweetest thing.
I can't be the only one that constantly pestered their parents to "tell me a story about when you were little!" I could listen to those stories for hours. And they became part of my personal lore, the story I tell myself about who I am. Knowing that you come from a foundation of love, courage, humor or whatever traits your family chooses to emphasize, goes a long way. Did anyone else catch this New York Times article? It discusses the importance of oral histories and building a strong tradition of "family stories."
I later came across this article that gives twenty questions that are a sampling of things your kids should know about your family. Our kids knew quite a few and the ones they didn't served as a fun jumping off point for other stories to tell. Have you told your kids many of those stories?
One of my favorite childhood stories about my dad was when he was fishing with his friends and accidentally hooked his own leg. The recreation manager for the town, my grandpa, was called to go pick up the kid. They loaded him into the back of his truck with my grandpa still sitting in the cab. Grandpa turned around and said, "Now, son, what's your name? Aaaah!" Until the moment he turned around he hadn't realized it was his own son with the fishing hook in his leg! I don't know why, but I could listen to that story over and over, with all the details about the place (Livingston, NJ), the river, the other kids, the pick up. It was rich to me.
Happy Valentine's weekend to you! I hope it's full of love, good stories and snuggles!
PS Here are the twenty questions if you want to check them out:
1. Do you know how your parents met?
2. Do you know where your mother grew up?
3. Do you know where your father grew up?
4. Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up?
5. Do you know where some of your grandparents met?
6. Do you know where your parents were married?
7. Do you know what went on when you were being born?
8. Do you know the source of your name?
9. Do you know some things about what happened when your brothers or sisters were being born?
10. Do you know which person in your family you look most like?
11. Do you know which person in the family you act most like?
12. Do you know some of the illnesses and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger
13. Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences?
14. Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school?
15. Do you know the national background of your family (such as English, German, Russian, etc)?
16. Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?
17. Do you know some awards that your parents received when they were young?
18. Do you know the names of the schools that your mom went to?
19. Do you know the names of the schools that your dad went to?
20. Do you know about a relative whose face "froze" in a grumpy position because he or she did not smile enough?
PPS The above picture is me as a little girl. The middle one is our first anniversary and the bottom pictures are of my uncle Jim and Sam.