Allow me to introduce Jennifer Wise, Featured Guest Blogger, for today. Do you s tell stories to your children, grandchildren, and family members? Telling them about their history and heritage is important. Telling them about yourself as a child is equally important. Jennifer discusses how she has been doing this with photos and blogging since 2009.
Last week was my grandfather’s birthday. He was born in 1916 and passed away when I was in high school. As it turned out, all three of my children would be born in a city across the river from where he spent most of his life. On his birthday, I texted my children a picture of him and my favorite things about him. I want them to know him before they meet him in heaven some day.
Bruce Feiler, in “The Secrets of Happy Families,” reported research on the effects that family stories have on kids: higher self-esteem, a greater sense of belonging, and better resilience in the face of difficulty. This is especially true when we know how our family has overcome challenges. When we see their perseverance or their faith, we know we can do hard things, too.
My great-grandmother was left a widow in her early 30s during the Flu Epidemic of 1918-1919. The family stories that have been told about how she and her seven children coped are encouraging!
Memory-keeping may be defined as preserving photos and stories. With such a focus today on how to preserve photos, it can be easy to forget that photos have stories. We call them memories. We take pictures of things we want to remember.
Dr. Peter Naish has studied photos and found that looking at photos increases our happiness by 11% and our relaxation by 22%. These days, we need all the mood boosts and effective relaxation techniques we can get!
Here are two ways to tap in to these personal and family benefits:
Write. Telling family stories verbally is wonderful, but writing them down allows them to be re-read, shared, and remembered. Family stories don’t need to be grand events. They can be silly, and they will most likely be simple. Where did your family come from? Write about legacies of faith, hard work, a sense of humor, etc. Talk to your parents or grandparents while you still can and record the family stories you want to remember and pass on.
Make sure photos are shareable. Organize photos so you can find and then share them. Photo experts say we should store our photos two ways digitally (one onsite and one offsite) and one in print. This means we should have digital photo files stored onsite (at home, like on a computer) and at a secure and trusted offsite location (in the cloud). I know that reputable cloud companies that don’t charge a monthly fee are rare, so you can contact me for information about my favorite company. And then don’t forget print! According to experts, print remains one of the best and most secure ways to store our photos, and has a bonus—we can store our memories and stories right next to them! You’ll want to print your photos and memories at the highest possible quality, so I have some wonderful recommendations if you need them.
Find encouragement, hope, strength, courage, and power through family stories and photos, whether from years past or from the family history you are creating every day.
Jennifer Wise has been blogging about photos, stories, and memories at lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com since 2009, but she has been a memory-keeper for as long as she can remember. She has been teaching others about photo organization, photo and story preservation, digital scrapbooking, and other aspects of memory-keeping since 2005. You can learn more at https://www.forever.com/ambassador/jennifer-wise. Jennifer also has a YouTube channel with video tutorials on photo organization, easy photo-memory books, how to write your legacy story, and more.
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