When I was a teenager I would wash my hair at the kitchen sink. One day my younger brother came into the kitchen while I was washing my hair, quietly opened the refrigerator door, got out the pitcher of cold water and poured it all over my head. Needless to say, I screamed loud and long! A few weeks later he did it again!
Over the years this incident became a long standing conversation piece at our house and all the nieces and nephews enjoyed hearing me tell how mean my brother was. And of course my children have heard this story about my brother many times.
I was surprised, though, when I went to visit my grandchildren in Utah last year. I was helping them get settled for the night and Kayli said, “Grandma, tell us the story about your mean brother pouring cold water all over your head.” Wow, where had she heard that from--my son, of course.
What a great way to pass down family stories and history—incorporating them into the bedtime routine. In one family I heard about, the parents loved to tell their children fairytales before they went to bed. At the end of the story the children would always ask, “Is that true?” The dad would reply, “No, it’s not true.” One night the father thought, “What am I doing? Telling my children make believe stories when there are so many true stories I could tell them, ones with meaning and morals.” So thereafter he made it a point to tell stories about his childhood or things he had learned from situations in his life.
Tell your children stories from your childhood—even the mundane sort of things like what you did during the summer and what you liked to play with or eat. As you do this, you will notice a bond of love between you and your children. Family history is tying your two generations together.