“Let me tell you about when I was going to second grade.”
That’s what I said to my second-grader-to be the other day while we were in the kitchen together. Her eyebrows raised high as she said, “What did you do in second grade?”
At first, I was thrown off a bit by her excitement and the anticipation to hear my story. Then, I remembered when my mom or dad would tell me stories about their childhood how much I enjoyed hearing those.
In that very moment, as I began to share about second grade, I made the mental note: Tell YOUR story to your kids.
“My second grade teacher’s name was Mrs. Dimitricopolous. And she was a short lady.”
“Oh, my! What was her name??? I can’t even say that,” she replied.
“Mrs. Dimitricopolous. She was very nice. She taught us Math, Reading, Spelling and World Studies. I remember she would give us a state and we would have to name the capitol before we could leave school.”
“That must have been hard. Who was your friend?”
I replied, “Well… my friends were Josh, and Karl, and Aaron. I remember that we would always play sports together during recess. We really liked soccer and football.”
She had a few more questions and then we got to talk about what she was excited about in second grade and that was the extent of the conversation.
It was so good.
Here are four reasons why I believe it is important to share your story with your kids:
Your child realizes that you were a kid. My kids seem to think that I just sprouted up from the ground and appeared just in time to be Dad as if I’d lived no prior days. Sharing stories with your kids will help them to realize that you were also seven years old, did chores, and had parents.
To get in touch with the emotions of ‘what it was like’ for you. As a husband, dad, and employee I spend a lot of my time thinking about what it means to be a husband, dad, employee and how to meet the needs of the day. If I think about what I felt like heading into the first day of school in second grade, I’ve suddenly opened the door to a whole new world and essentially taken a seat at the same table of emotions with my child.
Stories shape your children. From personal experience, I will never forget the story that my dad told my brothers and me about the tornado that went through town when he was in elementary school. How he was scared because he didn’t know where to go after the storm hit town. My mom once told me how she used to hate going to the store with her mother because she would always try to barter on the prices. Hearing these stories from my parents helped me as a kid to not just see them as ‘Mom and Dad who don’t know what it’s like and just boss me around.’
Stories are remembered and told over and over again. There are some nights at our family supper table when one of the kids will say, “Dad, remember when you were a kid and Grandma spanked you?” I always smile when they bring that up because, yes I do remember that my mom spanked me, and the only reason you know that is because I told you so