Today’s guest blogger, Frances Lefkowitz, writes about the importance of family stories and keeping memories alive.
Telling stories ‘round the table, can increase well-being, reduce anxiety and depression, reinforce feelings of closeness among family members, and build resilience for navigating life’s normal ups and downs.
Stories about something good coming from something bad are particularly therapeutic.
When something bad happens, but you find a way to use it to your advantage, you redeem (and transform) the negative experience.
The tales need to be structured, with a beginning, a middle, and — most crucial — an end, a conclusion that makes sense of the situation and gives it meaning.
Tips for getting the storytelling started:
1. Share photos: Albums, yearbooks, holiday photos, loose photos in shoeboxes.
2. Start and continue traditions. Rituals contribute to stories.
3. Share stories during mealtimes.
Frances Lefkowitz has spent over twenty years writing and publishing.
The author of two biographies and a memoir, To Have Not, about growing up poor in 1970s San Francisco.
Frances leads popular writing workshops, and has developed a self-editing technique that she teaches to writers so they can revise and edit their own work. As founder and director of the grant-funded Community Memoir Project, she brings free memoir-writing workshops to public libraries and community centers, and publishes anthologies of these under-represented voices.