Everyone has a story to tell, and while it might feel like you’ve heard them all before – perhaps several times – that includes your parents and grandparents.
And those stories have value. Whether your elders have witnessed an important moment in history, or they simply have gathered a few illuminating experiences over the years, there are certain memories that help us preserve a sense of time and place, that maintain the bridge between generations, and that help us learn from the adventures and follies of those who have come before.
Happily, humanity has devised a highly efficient and often entertaining means of preserving these memories – the memoir.
You might have even heard your parents or grandparents mention that they plan on penning their memoirs some day. Whether they’ve spoken about it or not, it’s time for you to help them realize the importance of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys).
Why Your Forbearer Should Write a Memoir
There are several reasons why your parent or grandparent should write a memoir:
- For you; Their stories might seem boring and rambling now, but some day when they’re gone you’re going to wish there was a way that you could relive these memories. A memoir book provides you with a record so that not only can you retain an accurate account of your family history, but perhaps even learn a few lessons along the way.
- For themselves; The process of writing about your past is a powerful experience. Not only does it provide one with the opportunity to think back on and enjoy old times, but to analyze and learn from them.
- For us all; Think of what the Baby Boomer generation has been through, let alone their parents. Imagine being a young and impressionable teenager during the Civil Rights movement, or when we landed on the moon, or when the hippie movement exploded. They’ve seen the Beatles live, saw Hank Aaron play, fought in Vietnam, watched as Kennedy was assassinated…
It is a tragedy to let memories like these fade away.
So now you know why your parents and grandparents should write their memoirs. Let’s take a look at how you can help them do it.
How to Provide Support and Inspiration
Here are a few things you can do to help with the process:
- Bring it up; Maybe the idea of writing a memoir has never crossed their mind. Tell them that you would appreciate a record of their past.
- Brainstorm; Sit down with them and spend some time brainstorming the most interesting and entertaining memories.
- Remind and research; Sometimes people – especially much older people – have trouble remembering details of a story or event. If you’ve heard it before, help them fill in the blanks, or perform the research necessary to flush out an incident.
- Support; Writing can be a tedious business. Be their cheerleader, and root them toward the finish line.
For some people memoirs actually turn into a whole new source of income, but that shouldn’t be the primary goal in writing them.
The goal is to share and preserve a moment in history, and to put things down in one’s own words so that there’s a record of what actually happened.
After they’re gone, you’ll find such a memoir to be invaluable.
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