3 Reasons you you should put your thoughts down on paper for the whole family.
I’ll never forget the summer in early high school that I was gone for two months. It was a great experience, but I missed a family vacation while I was away. In the mail one day that summer, I received a small package. Inside was a stack of papers stapled together from my dad. He had written the story of the family vacation I missed so I could know what happened. It was wonderful! I loved reading about the little moments they had experienced, and learning about the new inside jokes I hadn’t been around to hear. I still have that story today.
Telling and re-telling stories is powerful—that’s what we like to watch on television, what we like to listen to on the radio and on podcasts, and how we like to talk about our life with others. But there are some life stories that we experience that are more striking, more memorable and moving. These stories often involve birth and death, or major life milestones. It is very therapeutic, very healing, to write down the big stories in your life, and in your children’s life.
Okay, you think, but I’m not a good writer. You don’t have to be a good writer or even a good storyteller—there’s a huge benefit to putting your experiences down on paper in a permanent way even if you’ve never done it before. Here are the big reasons to do so.
1You can process the hard parts of your stories as well as the easy ones.
I loved writing down the birth story of my son. It was so nice to remember the amazing experience of meeting him face to face after carrying him hidden for so long. But I was also able to process the difficult parts of his birth—like the nurse who threatened me and ignored my legitimate requests. Writing things down makes them real and gets them out of your head. And that does wonders for helping yourself grieve the challenging parts of your life stories.
2You will be able to remember little details that might get lost if they weren't written down.
So many fun moments of that family vacation are recorded forever now. And if you retell certain stories often, the details get murkier and murkier over time. Having a written copy keeps those little moments fresh—and accurate. Recently, I spent some time writing down the stories of the babies I had lost through miscarriage. And even though it had not been that long since I had experienced the losses, I was already having trouble recalling what had happened when. I have learned that the sooner you are able to write down a story, the better!
3You can give the stories to your children so that they can re-read them some day.
What a nice gift to have for your child or grandchild—a few little stories about their life that they can look back on and maybe even share with their children.
What stories are good ones to write down? Stories of people’s entrance into the world—birth stories or stories about the day you adopted your child, stories about big moments in their lives: maybe a story about how they learned to walk, what they were like as a toddler or grade schooler, a specific recital they performed well in, or a fun trip or holiday. If you’ve lost a child, write the story of his or her life. For any story you write, jot down a few details right away, and then you can spend an evening or two writing them out more fully when you have the time. Writing will help you remember, and will help your children feel loved and connected when they read those stories. Your stories don’t have to be page-turners to matter, they just have to be sincere. Happy writing!