Family stories are an excellent way to pass on the knowledge and values
that have made your family
members the people they are. Children are
enthralled when they hear
them - especially when they are about their own
What are the stories that you tell your children? Consider these possibilities:
* The origin of family membersí names.
* How your family and/or ancestors came to the United States and then to
the area where you are now living.
* How you and other family members overcame adversities and obstacles.
* Your experiences in school and college.
* How you met your spouse or partner, and how their grandparents met.
* What life was like when you were a child.
There are many clear advantages and by-products to conveying these stories
to your children:
* Itís an excellent way for them to hear oral language. As you tell stories,
they learn from your example how a story is put together. This helps them
with their expressive language.
* They convey a sense of belonging - to your family, your geographic area,
your heritage. This links them, through your family, to others. It engenders
a sense of community with those with whom you share a common history.
* They pass on the values that are important to your family. If you want
your children to know the value of honesty, trustworthiness, consideration,
and perseverance, tell them stories that illustrate these character traits.
A parable drawn from real-life experience is a powerful example.
* They place your child in a geographic and historic context. They get
the sense of movement from the past to the present by way of hearing about
the factors that have brought you and them to the current time.
* They are unique to your family. No television show, movie, or video tells
the story of your family. It is something that you own and share among
These stories are an important and integral part of the education that
you - and only you - can give your child.
This column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís
Advice for Parents.