Build Your Legacy, Preserve Your Family History – Share a Story

According to estimates done by Carl Haub and others at the Population Reference Bureau and reported on the Mother Nature Netork, there have been 108 billion individual people who have walked the Earth over the past 50 millennia (since the origin of we more modern Homo Sapien types).

Six and a half percent of those who ever lived are alive today. How many of us remember the rest of the 108 billion who walked the earth before us? How will you be remembered?

You had ancestors, direct lineal predecessors. What do you know about them? What were their hopes, dreams, goals and achievements?

The hard truth is that most of us won’t be remembered – past the lifetimes of those we share the earth with now.  What do you want your descendents to remember about you?  If you want your legacy and your family’s legacy to live on when you die, here is a simple and hopefully effective strategy to use to better your odds of that happening.

Tell a story.

Yes, it is that simple, just do it over and over again. Tell it, write it, send it, share it. Tell it with movies, tell it with pictures, tell it with actions, tell it with words.

How to tell a story to preserve family legacy and history.

Keep it simple.
Pick a specific event that you experienced and center your story around it.

Keep it short.
Don’t write more than a few paragraphs. Don’t talk for more than 5 minutes.

Have a message.
Pick one thing you want your listener or reader to take away from the story. Repeat the message at least two or three times in your short, simple story.

Make if vivid.
Paint a picture of the scene where the story happened – heck even include a picture in the telling or the written material.

Edit carefully.
Do NOT include things you don’t want public – you have no control once you share the story. Do check grammer and spelling.  Do explain concepts that were familiar to you, but may not be now.  Do spell out acronyms.

Rinse and repeat with more stories over time.
Consciously pick the lessons, values, morals, and facts you want remembered. When you have a handful (not a hundred!) weave them into your stories in multiple variations on the theme.

Make the stories demonstrate how you and other family members acted out the lessons, values and morals that comprise your family legacy.

Bring the facts you want remembered alive in the minds of future generations.  Even if you don’t think you can write or tell a good story, just start – at least something will be preserved – even if it isn’t a best seller!

I haven’t been very good about telling our stories. Often when family gets together we are eager to talk – but mainly about current happenings. It is sometimes difficult to weave family history into all (or any) of the conversations. I am trying out written stories now, as well as the game   Life Stories icon(which helps get people talking about their experiences).

I had an aunt that shared stories via hand written notes she placed with special objects she owned.  My Grandpa told stories on summer nights as we sat in the yard at his farm.  My cousin built a family tree using Family Tree Maker Software.

How do you intend to share your history and legacy with future generations?

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