Our Stories

And Why It’s Important to Tell Them



Throughout our life’s journey, we create stories that make up who we are, but we don’t stop to think about the impact those stories might have on the ones we love. It’s important to document and save those accounts because by doing so, we can create family connections that can be carried down through generations. 

Every time, place, person, and event has a history. We know and learn from stories of the past through recorded accounts, whether they were written down, filmed, or audio recorded because someone thought to document what took place.  What we don’t notice is that over time, all of us go through our day-to-day tasks and routines without realizing we are living and playing out our own life stories. In the moment, you may share with your children and grandchildren stories of events, special times, and adventures through conversations, but we don’t stop to think how those stories can make an impact and leave lasting memories for those loved ones. Your story and how you tell it can become a treasured link between you and your family, connecting them with your past to preserve your family’s history in the future.

With today’s technology, there are countless ways to easily document your narratives and no limits to what you can share. You might think to yourself why and what will your family find relevant and will they be interested in what you have to say. No matter what stories you choose to tell and how you choose to do it, whether, through writing, video, or audio methods, you will be giving them an invaluable gift.

Written Documentation

The format of using the written word may be one of the easier and, yet, more personal of them all.  It presents plentiful opportunities to record many significant memories, and truly allows your loved ones to treat your life moments as your own personal novel. You can choose to write about special times in your life to include memories from your childhood and those with your siblings. Sharing these might help to explain where specific family traditions come from and why you may perform them. Another option might be to keep a journal to maintain an up-to-date account of your everyday activities. In my own family, this particular type of record served as a comfort after experiencing the loss of my mother, Dolores. She lived with the autoimmune disease Lupus for several years, and I was always aware of how she would keep notes on her health to update her physicians. What I hadn’t realized and didn’t learn until after she was gone was how she was an avid journal writer. I found several notebooks she kept and within them a window into how she felt on a particular day, what she might have done, and with whom. What I discovered to be even more special were the moments she describes of time spent with my sister and me and what it meant to her. After her loss, finding these journals helped to manage the grief you typically feel when losing someone close to you. There’s a reason people say, “Put it in writing,” when it comes to contracts. Written stories can leave an enduring impression no matter what you decide to share, and you can think of it as your personal contract binding you to your loved ones.   


Watching the act of you recounting events through video can be the more entertaining option when it comes to sharing your stories. It allows you to bring your tales to life through your appearance, mannerisms, facial expressions, and voice. The significance of seeing you while hearing your accounts can make your storytelling that much more meaningful. Grandchildren may take the most pleasure in viewing videos because it can act as your family’s documentary, especially if you recall the time involving their parents during their younger days. On the other hand, some of the stories you might discuss don’t always have to center around family. For example, your profession might have been one that was interesting and different, and something worth detailing if you took great pleasure in it.

There are a few options available for recording your story sessions, and you can make it as simple or more detailed as you like. You can record with a camcorder or use your computer and a webcam. Even your phone has recording capabilities, but you may be limited with data space so that might be worth checking before you begin.

Audio Recording

If you would rather not share your stories through video, then audio recording is another good option. This method will be the simplest of the three because you can just hit the record button and begin talking. Again, you can think of it as your own personal novel much like the writing format, but in this case, it acts as a book on tape. Hearing your voice resonate through your tales can serve as a comfort, and it can also provide an entertainment factor similar to that of video. Recordings can be made with an audio recorder or your phone.

With today’s generation constantly seeking connections through social media, why not give them a front-row seat to the stories that connect you with them. They will undoubtedly enjoy learning more about who you are, what you did, and how it impacts them today.

Story Ideas

• Births of Children and Grandchildren

• Family Gatherings

• Friendships

• Travel Endeavors

• Career Highlights

• Memories of Relatives

• Vacations

• Medical History


By Jennifer O’Neill

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