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3 Ways to Pass the Torch

3 Ways to Pass the Torch 10/19/18Janelle passed away early last week.  She was a very special person and a dear friend of mine.  She was also my sister-in-law.

The family reunited for her funeral.  Countless memories and amazing stories were shared.  It was a time of mourning, as well as a time of remembering and celebrating a life well lived and poured out for others. 

Janelle’s children will certainly collect some of the stories, photos, exquisite homemade greeting cards, recipes, and other tangibles of the “footprint” she left behind to pass on to their children and their children’s children. 

Perhaps you are interested in doing the same for yourself and your family.  The timing may be perfect, since the seasons are fast approaching that, for many people, bring families together. 

However, even if you are motivated, you may feel overwhelmed and not know how to get started.  Here are three ways that could be helpful:

-          An ABC memories list or book

-          A personal or family timeline

-          A collection of meaningful recipes

An ABC Memory List or Book is a fun way to pass on family memories by recording memories that are associated with the ABCs. This can be an especially fun way to pass on memories to children, grandchildren or other relatives. 

Let the letters of the alphabet inspire you to share stories and memories:  “A” could be for airplane or adventure; “P” could be for plate.  One story memory from my mom’s childhood is how Saturdays were house cleaning days, and at 3:00 p.m., when the work was done, her mom served cookies on a special plate.  The values passed on through that story were (1) work before play, (2) work/life harmony, and (3) having a little treat to celebrate finishing a task.

A personal or family timeline is a chronological list of historical events or memories.  A lot of information can be shared in a very brief way on a timeline.  It also can be a valuable part of a family history. Putting together a family timeline is among the easiest ways to pass on family memories, whether you are writing the entries on paper, or using a digital (online) timeline template.

A collection of cherished family recipes, along with the stories and traditions that go with them is another way to pass down memories.

Reminiscence is the process of reviewing and passing on personal and family identity, stories and memories.  It can happen anytime, but it typically becomes more common as people age. 

Research has shown that regular patterns of reminiscence are healthy for people. Reminiscence can assist with:
            -      better mental health,
            -      less depression in later life,
            -      more satisfaction in family relationships, and
            -      a better transition into the next stage of life.

In addition to the benefits of reminiscence, passing on personal and family memories allows us to:

-          share who we are and achieve a sense of identity,

-          reach out and connect across the generations, 

-          teach or pass on our values, and

-          experience personal meaning.

Contact NDSU Extension to request resources and “starters” for reminiscence and the passing on of family memories.  The resources include examples and links to websites for family timeline templates.

Source:  NDSU Extension, Passing on Family Memories.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/motivational-poster-memories-1485652/ (downloaded 10/23/18)


 

 

 

 

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