The Greatest Legacy: Leave Memories to Your Family
November 3, 2015 | Home and Family
Jaynee Weaver always knew there was value in her life story and passing it down, but she didn’t necessarily think anyone would be interested in hearing it. When her son, Brady Volpe, asked her to share her stories with him, she was thrilled.
“Money is great, and there is value in heirlooms, but what really matters is having memories,” Jaynee said.
Brady asked his mom to use a paid service called StoryWorth to help collect their family memories. StoryWorth sends your storytellers, like your parents or grandparents, a series of questions and gathers the responses for you.
“Having my mom write down her memories in StoryWorth has allowed me to learn detailed, rich stories about her I may never have known,” Brady said. “It’s been awesome.”
Justine Lelchuk also asked her mom, Joni, to use the site to send stories to her and her five sisters.
“It can be hard to ask these questions face to face,” Justine said. “It’s nice for my mom to be able to digest each question before she responds.”
Documenting Memories Yourself
Services like StoryWorth can help with the process, but there are also many ways to collect your family stories yourself. Here are some easy ways to get started on your own:
- Interview your relatives yourself. Using your smartphone or an app to record their stories allows future generations to hear the emotions in their family member’s voice.
- Email your family members questions that they can respond to directly. Send one question at a time so it’s not too overwhelming, and make them specific. Email allows responses to be easily shared and saved.
- Written stories can also be printed in books with accompanying pictures. Services such as Shutterfly, Snapfish or iPhoto can help create lasting mementos.
Benefits of Recording Memories
Many of us know very little of our family history simply because our ancestors' stories were never documented. We can change that for future generations by inviting our family members to share their stories with us. It’s important to start before the memories are forgotten or gone.
“I’ve begun to realize the fragility of memory,” Joni said. “I felt writing down my stories would be a wonderful way to try to capture as much as I could to be sure I can pass it down.”
These memories may provide valuable lessons for you and future generations. “I want to create a sense of history and heritage for my children,” Jaynee said. “Reading my stories may help them relate to what I’ve been through and help them get though a challenge.”
Justine appreciates the lessons she’s learned about motherhood from her mom’s responses now that she’s recently become a mom herself. “My mom and dad did a phenomenal job raising six of us,” Justine said. “Mom ensured we are incredibly close. I want to raise my children in the same manner. This process allows me to ask questions like ‘How did you raise us so we are a unit?’ I love reading all of it.”
It all starts by simply asking. You may find their stories are the most important part of the legacy they leave you.