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Capturing Your Family's Heritage: Encouraging Your Parents to Share Their Stories

Capturing Your Family's Heritage: Encouraging Your Parents to Share Their Stories

Our parents carry with them a wealth of experiences, memories, and wisdom gained throughout their incredible lives. As we grow older, the desire to capture and safeguard their stories takes on an ever-greater significance. We realize that our parents won’t be around forever and we want to hold onto their memories before they pass.

Sometimes our parents are skeptical or aren’t too comfortable with the idea of sharing their life stories and will need some convincing. Below are some ideas that might help them ease into the process and make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Highlight the Importance of Their Guidance and Stories For Future Generations.

 To start the discussion, emphasize the importance of their stories. Explain how their life experiences can serve as valuable guidance, a source of inspiration, and a feeling of connection for their children and grandchildren. Some people think that their life isn’t exciting enough to talk about, but one thing we’ve learned over the years is that everyone is interesting, and has a legacy worth sharing!

Grandma reading to her granddaughter

Tread with Sensitivity

 When addressing this subject, be sure to approach it with great sensitivity. Understand that certain stories might be private or sensitive, and that’s okay. Reassure them that you're interested in safeguarding their distinct outlook on life and the values they've nurtured through their journey. Once your parent realizes that they have control over the process, they become more comfortable with sharing their memories.

Reveal Learning Opportunities

Impart to them the potential for younger family members to gain wisdom from their experiences. This is usually what gets resistant storytellers on board! Once presented as a legacy for their children and grandchildren, they become less guarded, and more comfortable sharing their stories and values.

Hands holding their word 'legacy'

Lend a Helping Hand

To alleviate any concerns or discomfort, offer your assistance. We encourage you to join your parents for the interviews to help jog memories and relay important narratives. This turns out to be a fun process for everyone!

Present It as a Gift

Frame the act of sharing their stories as a gift, not just to themselves but to the entire family. Some people think that writing a book about themselves is indulgent, but when presented as a gift to their family, they see it in a completely different light. One of our first clients was our friend, Stef. Her Dad said he didn’t want to do it. Full stop. Talk to someone he didn’t know about his life? No, thank you. But she told him he’d be doing it for Stef and for his future grandkids. That sure got him. He changed his tune pretty quickly! Her dad ended up loving the interviews and now couldn’t be happier with his book.

Stack of books wrapped in a bow

Highlight the Personal Benefits

Mention that recounting their life's journey can be a healing experience for them. Reflecting on their stories provides them with a sense of achievement, as well as a chance for closure for anything they may regret.

Start Small

Begin by suggesting a specific event or memory that holds a special place in their hearts. This approach is less overwhelming and gives them a sense of accomplishment as they embark on sharing their stories. We find that once the storyteller gets comfortable, the floodgates open and the memories really start to flow.

Respect Their Boundaries

Above all, respect their boundaries. If there are topics that they'd rather not delve into, honour their wishes and concentrate on the narratives they're comfortable revealing. After all, these are their stories to tell and they need to feel safe with what they’re sharing.

It’s All Worth It

Encouraging your parents to tell their stories is an investment worth taking! By highlighting the importance of their experiences, offering your support, and creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, you can encourage them to open up and share. Remember that their willingness to reveal their personal stories is a valuable gift, and the tales they share will form a lasting legacy cherished by future generations.

Choose from three different story packages and get started on recording your parents’ memories today!

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