What every grandparent needs to know….about passing on their family tree.
You’re going to discover 5 easy ways to engage and inspire your grandchildren to be more interested in family stories that will hopefully lead to them being more open to the idea of eventually becoming a genealogist, or at least looking after what you have spent so much time lovingly crafting – your heritage.
How do you think you’d feel if you saw your descendents eventually throwing all of your hard-fought family tree research on the skip? Think it won’t happen? Go to any carboot sale or charity shop and you’ll see books with inscriptions in them dated back to the 1800’s. Go to any antique fair and you’ll find war medals with inscriptions on sale. One dealer I spoke to said he buys them up just so they won’t be melted down!
How sad is that?
But the truth of the matter is we don’t have space to keep these things right now.
But we need to hold space for those things because they are so important to us, they connect us to where we came from and maybe even where we’re going. The only way to guarantee that won’t happen is to engage and inspire your descendents with the stories and the emotions behind the memorabilia and then the paperwork sort of becomes a necessity, a bit like a provenance.
Are our children really interested in family? I firmly believe they are, nowadays children are far more connected via social media to their friends and family than ever before. And in this increasingly disconnected world we live in, there has never been a better time to nurture those family connections than right now.
But how to do it? Or even, more to the point, can I do it?
Yes, yes, and yes again, you absolutely can.
Whether you live around the corner or in different continents, you can absolutely keep in touch with your grandchildren and pass on family stories to them and it should be a priority to do so, which I’m sure it is.
Assuming you have a great relationship with mom and dad, you can work together to plan how you manage this whether local or long-distance. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the five how to’s.
- Skype each other. It’s free and you can even record the conversations. Set aside a time each week, or more frequently if desired, to talk to your grandchildren. You can even make it a celebration sometimes, perhaps you can celebrate a birthday online. Skype is such a fantastic tool for bringing people together. I couldn’t live without it, knowing that at any time I can speak to my son at university is absolutely brilliant.
- Set up a memory box. You can either do this online or physically. Get them to send photographs and scans of the pictures they draw so you can keep them, or maybe even scrapbook them and send that through the post or hand it to them when you or they visit. What a fabulous birthday present to get presented with a scrapbook of the previous 12 months of your life?
- Get involved. Are they currently involved in a history project at school? Can you contribute anything to that? Perhaps you could hook them up with an older relative for them to interview them about their experiences? Do they have themed book days at school, like Victorian Days. You could maybe find some pictures of your ancestors to give them some ideas about what kind of dress to wear for the day.
- Interview them. Yes, interview THEM. Make them feel important, they love to feel that their voice is being heard, get them to a do a scrapbook or journal of their life.
- Create a family cookbook. This is something that can be achieved physically or online. Gather recipes together and make sure you tell them that this one is Auntie May’s Magical Mince Pies or Grandma’s Gorgeous Granola (give recipes interesting names). Again you could print this out and send it off in the post, but both of you can print it out at home.
So it’s not soo difficult to keep your grandchildren interested and engaged in family matters. Make it fun and be enthusiastic and they’ll come back for more.
Don’t make the mistake of ramming family tree connections down their throats, they won’t thank you for it and it will turn them off. Just gently ease them along getting them more and more interested in what’s happening in their own lives and it will create a sense of belonging and closeness that money just can’t buy.
What price for not having your stuff thrown on the tip or end up at the charity shop or carboot sale?
Only you know the answer to that.