Do you really know your family?
Do you really know your family?
I always wanted to follow my dreams of running my own business. The loss of my father in 2007 encouraged me to take this step and create the ‘from you to me’ products to preserve priceless memories and stories. Hoping to inspire people to get to know their loved ones before it’s too late I created the journals to create an invitation and dialogue for friends and family to share their stories and memories.
A new study by from you to me shows the vast majority of us spend little or no time talking to older relatives, or even our parents about their lives, so could years of family stories be lost forever to future generations?
The research highlighted that three quarters of respondents admit they spend little or no time talking to older relatives about their lives and the family stories of their parents.
More than half of us do not talk to our parents or grandparents about our family heritage, while close to 30% have never even talked to their mother, and nearly 40% to their father about their own lives.
I thought I would share one powerful story from a customer showing the power of capturing stories from the people close to you.
I hope you enjoy it.
Steve shares his story of getting to know his father Arthur …
"I know I was the youngest child of the family but I still couldn’t understand why my father was so distant. He kept his feelings to himself and, no matter how often I questioned him, he would never tell me what was going on his mind or his life. He seemed closer to my elder brother and sister and this only seemed to make things worse for me. I so wanted to know him better and for him to know me too.
One Father’s Day, I gave him a great gift. A journal designed to invite him to share stories and experiences about his life - Dear Dad, from you to me. He opened it in front of me and looked at me with tears in his eyes before telling me it was going to be a best seller.
As life went on, I went away to university and it was on my 21stbirthday that I got a call to tell me that my Dad was unwell. I raced home to find the family gathering to look after him.
As I went into his room, he looked up and gave me the biggest hug of my life. He reached beneath his bed and gave me a present roughly wrapped in a paper bag. I knew instantly what it was and my hands shook as I flicked through the pages seeing the handwriting that I know so well. “That was fun …” was all he said.
He looked at me with a knowing smile and, whilst I knew I wanted to know how it read, I also wanted to wait until the moment was right to explore what he had written.
It took me some time to pick up the courage with a heavy heart to sit and read the Journal from start to finish. As he had said, it was truly number one in my best-selling book chart. It might not reach the list for anyone else, but I wanted to share some of his writing with you. The Journal comprises a number of questions – some light-hearted, some deep – but all structured to capture his real-life stories.
Here are a selection of my Dad’s answers …
Q. Tell me about your Mum & Dad …
They were truly inspirational my son. They were strong and there for me at every step of my young life. My Dad worked hard as a schoolteacher whilst my Mum was a traditional housewife. It was what mothers did back then and she was very good at it. The house was always spotless when we got home from school and my Dad returned from work. They never seemed to talk together though – nor laugh – nor fight. I was never sure quite what they saw in each other, but the relationship worked for them. They both seemed to get out of it what they needed.
Becoming parents was where they became strong. One or other of them always took the time to talk to me, to listen, to help, to challenge. They were true leaders when it came to helping me with my life decisions – big and small.
I always felt I could never emulate this as a parent. I would never step up the mark. I wanted to be there for you, but always felt I would add nothing. I do hope you feel that, in my own way, I have been there for you my son.
Q. How did you meet my mother?
Blackpool Tower Ballroom … and what a night that was. The band played and I spotted your Mum across the room. I was dressed in my RAF uniform and I felt as if every woman in the room was watching me! I approached her and asked her to dance. As we moved onto the dance-floor there was hardly space to move so I suggested sitting that dance out. To this day we have never danced together – I can’t dance, but I did not want to show my lack of confidence on that first date.
Q. Describe the greatest change that you have seen in your lifetime so far …
Landing on the Moon.
Cheap worldwide travel.
Communications in the palms of everyone’s hands. When I was young we had no telephone in our house and only one in the village!
The Internet and its vast array of information.
Where do I start?
There has been huge change in most areas of life, but not always for the better.
Some Dads still don’t talk to their children enough.
Q. If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
I would, without doubt, be a Meerkat.
I stand tall amongst friends. I am fun. I am different, although not everyone notices that difference. I run and hide too often when difficulties come my way.
I am a survivor.
Q. What would you like your epitaph to say?
“He was quite simply an inspiration.”
Thank you for the stories Dad. The journal you have given back to me is quite simply the best read of my life. I wish I had understood you better earlier in my life. I wish we had talked and shared stories and experiences and memories.
Knowing how you tick has helped me to know more about how I want to be a father to my own child.
Dad … you really were an inspiration."
You can learn more about the from you to me research by clicking here.