Why Telling Kids About Family History Matters
Ask a child about themselves and they will confidently rattle off their names, their parent's names, and profession, the school they go to, their class teacher’s name and all about their siblings and friends. But dig deeper about their parents and grandparents, where did they grow up, what was their childhood like, what were the milestones in their life and they will come up blank.
But research suggests that kids who know intimate details about their family history are more rooted and posses a better understanding of the world than their counterparts who don’t. Here are 5 reasons why we as parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts should share anecdotes from our life with kids:
Sense of belonging
Nothing enriches our perspective of life like history. History is one of the deepest treasure troves of insights, observations, understanding, and wisdom.
And when we share our life’s stories with kids, some funny, some brave, some tragic and some quirky, a child’s sense of belonging and their self-esteem are heightened.
A stronger sense of control
No life is lived without overcoming its fair share of difficulties. Sharing these stories of bravery, courage, compassion, passion or even foolhardiness with our kids teaches them important life lessons and more importantly gives them a sense of control over life events.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Difficulties break some men but make others!”
All of us know someone who had all the odds stacked against them and still managed to overcome them with sheer resilience. As enlightened parents, let us also share those family stories of resilience with our kids. Those stories will become the guiding light for kids when they are facing some tough times in life.
There is no stronger adhesive in the world than sharing family history. I love listening to my husband talks about his childhood and adolescent days. My daughter loves it when her grandma talks about her own school days. She also loves to listen to stories of the cows her great-grandfather used to have as a kid and how they milked the cows and how each cow had a distinct personality.
Go ahead, bring out those decades-old stories and share, share, share!
Inspiring need to continue the legacy
Last but not least, kids feel they are a part of something bigger when they continually listen to stories of grit and sheer determination or patience and compassion. They understand how their family advanced generation after generation - academically, financially and socially. Their desire to replicate the glorious moments of their ancestors in their own lives is awakened. They are inspired to continue the legacy. What better outcome than a grandchild wanting to prove his or her mettle by replicating their family’s values and taking its legacy forward.
Go ahead, fortify your child’s emotional health and self-esteem by sharing your family history with them. Nothing is as fulfilling as starring in one’s family’s chronicle and emerging the hero!