Memories are important to our sense of self. According to a study by Marshall Duke, Ph.D. and Robyn Fivush Ph.D. the more children knew about their family histories, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem.
I discovered this tidbit while reading Alan Gelb’s book Having the Last Say: Capturing your legacy in one small story. Writing coach Alan Gelb shows readers how to create short personal narratives to reflect on their lives and to share these stories with their families.
Check out this booklist for other books that will help you record your memories.
The library also offers access and help with FamilySearch, on online database for genealogy research and family tree building. FamilySearch has an App that you can use to record members of your family telling stories so that you not only have the story, you have their voice also. You may want to attend our Creating Oral Histories class Jan 5, 11am-1pm.
In an interesting interview with Duke he explains just how important it is that families share their lives with each other. Duke is a professor of psychology at Emory University who has authored more than 100 research articles and seven books that focus on families and other social learning networks.
Fivush shares the 20 questions she and Duke used in their research, which are designed as a starting point for sharing family stories. Fivush said, “Please keep in mind that it is not knowledge of these specific facts that is important – it is the process of families sharing stories about their lives that is important. So these questions are a way to begin to ask and to tell, and to begin a family tradition of sharing the stories of our lives.”