When others read your life story or histories of your deceased family members, it’s easy to see what values were important to them by their daily actions and lifestyle. As I’ve reflected back on my grandparents’ accomplishments while trying to write a history to correctly portray them, it’s helped me to reflect on several basic values they held: honesty, responsibility, thriftiness, hard work, humor and faith just to name a few. They taught these values to their family through their example. Now my task is to reflect that in my writing about them so their efforts and lives are preserved. (Photo of me with my grandpa I love and my aunt Bonnie who greatly influenced my life.)
What is a value? It is something of importance to an individual, group or society, a character trait to gain and exemplify. Are there stories from your ancestors or your own life that reflect a value that was important to your family? That could be reason enough to write a history of yourself or another individual in your immediate family. Your grandchildren will never know your grandparents and what they valued unless you write their history or mention their influence on you in your own history or share orally your memories.
As I’ve asked several older individuals IF they have thought of writing their life story, I get a wide range of answers. Many say “Oh yes, I’m working on it, I know how important it is to leave for my family.” Or “Nobody wants to know about my life, I never accomplished anything great. I just worked everyday and raised a family.” We are too critical with our own contributions to society and especially to our families. Grandchildren are a precious gift and we may be the only one to share important values with them that are being rapidly forgotten in our society.
Such values as honesty, virtue, modesty, responsibility, etc are called old fashioned and not needed in our “modern society.” We hear…”As long as you don’t get caught or hurt others, it’s okay to break rules or ignore standards of yesterday.” Could just the mere act of writing down the values that are important to you and how you learned them help your posterity? I believe it could. It’s not too late to start recording your experiences as a child or preserving the memories of your parents or grandparents. It’s an important use of your valuable time.