American author and legend Mark Twain secretly dictated a three volume uncensored autobiography before he died in 1910, with strict instructions for it to remain unpublished until 100 years after his death. This November, the first volume of his memoir will finally see the light of day. Your parents, however, don’t have to wait a century to share their own personal history.
To get started, I recommend “The Legacy Guide: Capturing the Facts, Memories, and Meaning of Your Life,” beautifully written by Carol Franco and her husband, Kent Lineback. You may find the book at your library or simply click here on “The Legacy Guide” and download forms and with questions that will help you capture the invaluable story of a life. Authors Franco and Lineback were inspired to create an easy way to capture a loved one’s story after their own parents were gone and they realized how much of their lives remained a mystery. With questions and anecdotes to stimulate conversation and trigger memories, their guide walks the user through a process to capture the richness of seven stages of life: childhood, adolescence, young adult, adult, middle adult, late adult, and elder. Their approach offers numerous creative ways to turn a personal, oral history into a family heirloom.
Encourage your parents to share their invaluable life experiences—they paint an honest picture of both an American past, and also the past of your own family. Encourage your children to engage their grandparents in oral history projects, whether for school or for fun. My 90-year-old uncle and his grandson compiled a beautiful video project about my uncle’s life that was shown, three years later, at his funeral, warming all our hearts, bringing us to tears and also to laughter.
As you’re taking your parents to their doctors’ appointments or even visiting with them for a few days on vacation, consider asking them to tell their story and to preserve it for generations to come.
Have you found ways to preserve your parents’ story? Have you considered capturing your own story for your family?
©Circle of Life Partners™