THE STORY BEHIND MY LATEST FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT FOR KIDS
I was a teenager when I had a dream about a little blond girl who was holding my hand as we went on crazy adventures. The dream was so real that I woke up, grabbed an empty notebook, and scribbled it down before I could forget anything. From that point on I always kept my eye out for the little blond girl that I knew I was meant to find. While serving my church mission or teaching a classroom of second graders I kept my eye out for her. And while I was able to help some amazing kids, I never had that connection that I experienced in my dream. A blessing poured in my life when my husband and I adopted the most beautiful little baby girl. I knew pretty early on that she was the little girl I dreamt about. When she got old enough to hold my hand, the memory of the dream would come rushing at me and the feeling of connection was so strong that it shook me to the core.
When my daughter was about 4 she started asking my husband and I to tell her stories of when we were kids. She loved to hear about our ups and downs of childhood. In a way I think that helped her to relate to us. That is when the seed for this project started. I wanted to write a collection of our stories. Stories of how I dealt with embarassing moments or times I was terrified. Stories that would make her laugh. But also stories that would connect us as a family. Stories of how we were destined to be together and the miracle of her adoption. Our stories. Over the years as I became a little more forgetful I would feel that desire to write the stories down, but life was always busy.
Our family experienced some pretty big changes about the time my daughter became a tween and my whole heart desired to give my daughter the one thing that I knew would help her through these adjustments- roots. Because that’s what you need when the ground is shaking. She needed to know not only who she was, but who our family was and what we believed in. She needed to have our stories. She was starting to wonder more about her own biological ancestors. If thoughts and feelings could scream, I was getting yelled at constantly. She needed this gift. She needed her roots.
And she needed another gift that I was beginning to recognize. She needed me to start trusting her with more responsibilities. She needed me to slowly and carefully prepare her to conquer the world from a loving and supportive sideline position. She needed to work on her wings to fly- one feather at a time.
She needed her roots. And she needed her wings. And in true teacher mom fashion, she needed me to put them in a book that she could read over and over and reference back to when life got hard. So I got to work creating a template that we could fill out as a family. A book where we could write our stories. A book where we could write our family’s beliefs and mission statement. A book that we could document our deep family roots with stories and information of our ancestors. A book that would provide my daughter with the confidence and knowledge that she can fly.
A book of roots and wings.
And I thought, if my daughter needed this maybe some other family could benefit from it as well.
This is a book about YOUR FAMILY, so I wanted to give you options when it came time to making your book. There is a hefty appendix section with a TON of additional pages and some cover options. And I am open to suggestions if you have additional page ideas!
This book would be a great family night project. I’d just work on one page at a time, doing your best and putting a lot of thought and love into it. The more love you pour into it, the more meaningful it will be to your family. Encourage your kids to get involved in creating a family mission statement or drawing a family flag. There are pages for them to write/draw their own stories.
If you have multiple kids, I would have them each create their own book. This may be more work to begin with, but each child will benefit from having their own. There are pages for the parents (or check the appendix for other significant loved ones) to write love letters of encouragment to each kid. Kids can also write their own personal bucket list or quotes that inspire them. It’s meant to a personal, individual project. I also think it would be a great idea to have siblings contribute stories and love notes to each other in their books!