Thursday, May 18, 2006

Creating Family Legacies

Today's Guest Blogger is my writer-friend Marilyn Hilton. You can find out more about Marilyn here. I think you'll be happy you did!

Creating Family Legacies by Marilyn Hilton

May I confess? I’m not a GenX parent--I’m one of those Boomers but I don’t feel like one. I had my first baby when I was 39 and my last at 43.

I have no category. When I joined a new-moms’ class with women nearly half my age, I envied the extra years they would have with their kids that I would not have. But I often feel out of place whenever I’m placed in a group of women my age: they’re on the retirement track and I’m choosing training bras.

One benefit to being spring lamb in ewe’s clothing is that I feel an acute urge to create family traditions and legacies that will live on in my children and grandchildren long after I’m gone. They need to know who they are to me, our family, and their extended family reaching forward and back. I need to help them understand their worth and value as human beings and children of God.

If you, too, have the urge to preserve, here are some simple ways to keep memories and create legacies for your children:

 Write a letter to your child soon after s/he’s born. Don’t edit the letter, but seal it and put it in a safe place, to give to your child later in life.

 Keep a daily diary. Stay successful by writing only a few sentences or one short page each night.

 Trace your child’s outline or silhouette, date it, and display it.

 Tell your child regularly (such as a birthday) about the day s/he was born.

 Take a special photograph of your child on a milestone day, such as the 100th day since birth.

 Make a collage of cards your child received when s/he was born or for a special birthday.

 Laminate artwork and use it as placemats.

 At a birthday or other celebration, have guests write messages on a white tablecloth using permanent-ink pens.

 Store cards and letters in an accordion file, by date or occasion.

 Write and send out a quarterly family newsletter that everyone in the family contributes to.

 Start a family story night, passing around a “storyteller” toy.

 Plant a tree or shrub in your yard in honor of a deceased loved one.

 Take a picture of your child in the same spot on the first day of each new school year.

 Display artwork on one area of the wall, and rotate artwork monthly.

 Cut pieces from outgrown clothing and quilt a pillow, or frame a swatch of the quilting.

 Display photographs of grandparents around your house and tell your child about each person.

 For a birthday or other celebration, make a poster of your child’s pictures and have guests write messages.

 Keep a list of all the “baby talk” your child says before it switches to grownup talk. (That happens too fast.)

 Before a birthday or other celebration, ask guests to write messages. Then bind them all in a memory book.

 Make a container to store baby teeth.

 Write postcards to your family whenever you’re away, and save them in an album.

 Frame a snapshot with a favorite poem, prayer, or message for your child.

 Share the stories of your faith as often as you can.

Preserving memories and creating legacies help kids feel connected to something larger than themselves and boosts their confidence and sense of security. And that’s good for every generation!


At Thursday, 18 May, 2006, Blogger Jennifer Tiszai said...

Great suggestions, Marilyn! This is an important subject to me, too, and we've done some of those ideas you suggested. Particularly recording the baby talk. Our kids came up with such creative names for things!


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