What is your story? We all have one. Mine started with Oreos at the dinner table. As I sat one evening with my family chomping Oreos together, I watched my kidlets start licking the creamy middles of their cookies. It brought back a memory from my childhood. I randomly sang out the Oreo jingle from the 80’s, “Who’s that kid with an Oreo cookie . . . O-R-E-O. Nabisco . . . ding!” (Anyone else remember that?). My kids looked at me with surprise and my oldest exclaimed in her teasing teenage tone, “Uh, where did THAT come from?”
I immediately looked up the vintage Oreo commercial on my phone as I tried to explain that back in the old days everyone watched Saturday morning cartoons and the same commercials came on so much that we had them memorized. There was no fast-forwarding through them. No “skip this ad in 5 seconds,” and video watching was still new. My husband and I then impressed our kidlets with our knowledge of 80’s commercial jingles, including Oscar Meyer and the McDonald’s Big Mac (2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, on a sesame seed bun–anyone, remember?). We laughed and laughed with our kids as we watched these old commercials and sang along.
This random conversation has led to many more “tell us about the 80’s and 90’s” requests from our kids. It was a world without texting and Netflix and it’s fascinating to them.
I ended up pulling out my earliest childhood journal that I wrote in from ages 8 to 14 years old. I let my kids read it with me one day. Each child could see a piece of who I was at the exact age they are now. Again, they were tickled pink by the “eighty-ness” of it and laughed at my silliness and junior high crushes. But then we came to a part of where my Grandpa died, they hushed their giggles and listened with all ears as I read aloud from my journal page:
I am sad that Grandpa has died. I didn’t really cry too much until they closed the casket. I couldn’t keep the tears away. Dad even cried a little. It made me feel so sad. But when we got to the church for the funeral, and as we walked in, everyone stood up for us. I felt honored and proud to be his granddaughter.
As I read this, the feeling in the room changed. We felt peace. We felt connection. We felt belonging.
We felt love.
My kidlets wanted to know more about my Grandpa. We talked about my memories of him and reminded ourselves that families are forever.
At RootsTech Conference this past week I learned from Bruce Feiler and Steve Rockwood, that children who understand and know their family heritage are better able to deal with life’s hardships. They have a emotional well-being, a sense of belonging, and a desire to do good. They know that they can make a difference.
Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch said, “Psychologists have found that children who have a strong sense of family heritage are much more resilient than those who don’t. They are better able to weather difficulties and overcome challenges.”
Tell your children your stories. We all have many stories that make up who we are. Some are big. Some are small. The small ones matter too. Some are happy. Some are difficult. The difficult ones are just as important.
I went to RootsTech last week because I love stories. I’m intrigued by history and all things reminiscent of times gone by. I love the stories of people that came before me, how they worked and just tried to figure out life. I believe knowing who we are and the roots we came from gives us a foundation to stand on as we navigate our own lives. I guess this is my long way of saying that I am a keeper of stories. I call myself a storykeeper because it’s my job as a parent to make sure these stories of my life and those I love, live on and are passed down. I keep the memories. I bask in the joys and the sorrows of the past. I treasure the present by living each day with meaning. And I hope for goodness in the future. So today, I give thanks to God for families, for seasons in our lives, and for small moments that matter.
You are a storykeeper too.
What story will you keep?
What story will your children remember?
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