Monday, March 25, 2013

It Is The Stories That Bind Us

Carol's Corner~Guest Blogger.  Carol Holladay

 For Carol for being such a wonderful friend!

"It’s all about sharing family stories that not only enrich our genealogy, but strengthen families. In Dick Eastman’s Genealogy letter, dated March 19, 2013, Dick shares a compelling article from the New York Times writer, Bruce Feiler who makes the point “the single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative.”

Bruce went on to tell about a time when his extended family had gotten together, things got tense, words were spoken and as he says “Ka-boom!...then everyone fled to separate corners.” That night he lay awake wondering “what is the secret sauce that holds a family together? What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, happy?”

Bruce went on to share that in the mid- 1990’s Marshall Duke, a “colorful psychologist” began to explore myth and ritual in American families.” There was a lot of research into the dissipation of the family and what families could do to counteract those forces.

Marshall Duke and his wife, Sara Fivush, also a psychologist working with children with learning disabilities noticed something about her students. “The ones who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges.” What did Duke and Fivush do? They developed 20 questions called “do you know?”

Questions like: “Do you know the story of your birth? Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your Mom and Dad went to high school? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family?” These questions were asked of four dozen families, their conclusion. “The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully their believed their families functioned.” This “Do You Know? Scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.” As they said, “We were blown away.” How could something as simple as the sharing of family stories and family information make the difference?

Two months later September 11, 2001 occurred; just like the rest of us Dr Duke and Dr Fivush were horrified! What an opportunity to again study these same four dozen families and measure the effects of September 11th. Dr Duke said, “Once again, the ones who knew more about their families proved to be more resilient, meaning they could moderate the effects of stress.” The question posed, “Why does knowing where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?” According to Dr Duke, “The answer has to do with a child’s sense of being part of a larger family.”    “The children with the most confidence have what they call a strong “intergenerational self.” “They know they belong to something bigger than themselves.”

I share only a portion of the Eastman Letter, but bottom- line; “If you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.

What a great article to have read before listening to this week’s, Roots Tech Conference! In his key-note address, Dennis Brimhall, CEO of Family Search said; “What we really want is to turn hearts to our ancestors. Technology plus stories equals family history for everyone!”

The question Dennis posed is “Will our great-grandchildren look back at us in the same way that we look back at our great-grandparents? What will our great-grandchildren wish we had done?” They will wish we had recorded the richness, the fabric of our lives. They’ll want much more than names, dates, and places.”

Bon here:   I just love this article.  I believe these words to be true.  We all need to know that the universe does not just revolve around us.  We are all a part of a marvelous and wonderful work.  The Lord has created families for the benefit of all.


Sister Susie said...

It makes me wonder how thick our "autobiographies" would be if every moment of our lives were documented by family, ourselves, and others we interacted with during our lifetime. That is just what has been done with those who have rejected Christ as Savior. It says in Rev. 20:12, "and the Books were opened" by which ever aspect of their lives will be judged. Praise our Almighty GOD for us whose names are written in "The Lsmb's Book of Life!" Even more gracious yet, to see all of those we have loved, our families and friends to be there with us for Eternity with our Awesome, Almighty, Creator, Savior, Holy Father GOD!
Love to you and yours, Susan