Figuring Out What’s Most Important to Share

About 6 months ago, our extended family was on vacation together in Florida. My husband, an avid Syracuse fan, was excited to go to the Bowl game being played nearby one night, so some of us went with him.

My parents stayed back at the hotel to be with our younger son Bryan.  It was getting late, so my Mom told Bryan to go get ready to take a shower.

He went into his room (from their attached room) and came back out dancing - buck naked.

My Mom, feeling that he was a bit old to be dancing around naked at the age of 11, told him to “Go put something on!" He left the room and came back a minute later, still completely naked, wearing sunglasses. 

I share this short story because it so aptly reveals the essence of who Bryan is - silly, quick-witted and always ready to get a laugh.

I also share it because it's a great example of the kind of story you might share if you or a loved one is thinking about telling their life story. An anecdote that quickly gets to someone's core personality and what makes them unique paints a more vivid picture than simply sharing adjectives like "silly" and "quick-witted."  

When you're thinking about telling the life story of yourself or a loved one, sometimes it's hard to know what to share. What's meaningful? What's important? What's going to make a lasting impact? I created four categories of stories that can serve as a checklist as you think about - and hopefully don't get overwhelmed by - all the stories you might share.   

The 4 Categories Checklist:

  1. Family History - a story that gives the reader (or viewer, in the case of video) a better understanding about their family history - who they’re related to, where they came from, where and how they lived, what relationships were like between family members, etc.
  2. World History - stories that tell about the way things were at an earlier time that today’s and future generations would have no idea about or that have become obsolete. Learning about history through real people, especially ones you are related to, is a powerful way to understand and keep the past alive. (The above video is a great example of this.)
  3. Values/Family values - stories that share how you decided on something, chose a certain path, and what it meant to you. The turning points and obstacles in your life and how you handled them share what you value and what’s important. It’s also shares valuable life lessons and wisdom for future generations.
  4. A Person’s Essence - a story or anecdote that in describing the story, shares the essence of who the person is or was. By sharing what they did or how they reacted or handled certain situations, the story shares the true nature of their personality in some way.  

This is not to say that other stories aren’t also important, but if you have too many to tell, this is a great litmus test for deciding which stories might be more important or warrant more time to tell. 

If you need help and are having trouble going it alone, contact us - we'd be glad to help!

  1. Pat McNees
    August 9, 2019 at 13:23

    What a delightful story. You're doing what more families should do -- capturing the life sotry of a child, which is often most wonderful in the light-hearted moments.

    • August 9, 2019 at 13:38

      Thanks Pat! Yes, I have a book for each of my boys and have been trying to write down the funny or interesting things they do and say when I remember to write. It's really fun for me to look back on and I know they'll appreciate it when they're older.

  2. Debbie Fink
    August 9, 2019 at 21:42

    Such useful information — as always!!!