Power of Story Week 3: Stories From When I Was Little

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For years these words scared me to death, “What was it like when you were little, mom?” I would feel silly, tongue tied and put on the spot when my children asked me about my childhood. I wanted to tell them sweet, endearing stories from my life when they sincerely asked that question, but not everything in my childhood was perfect and, frankly, there was just a lot I couldn't remember. But I still felt bad not sharing with them, because somehow I knew if they could relate to me as a child, it would strengthen our relationship.

Finally, the “When I Was Little” Story Starter came to the rescue. My husband and I both decided we would write down some of our stories and give them to the kids as a gift for Christmas. We expected it would become one of their favorite bedtime story books—and we were right.

We made a whole book of our stories, but it can just as easily be the next chapter in the life story you are writing.

This is the book we made:

"When We Were Little" Book cover with baby pictures

And here's how we made it:

How to Write Stories From Your Childhood

1. We both got a copy of the When I Was Little Story Starter and read through it independent of each other. We circled the questions we liked; the ones that actually brought up some fun and interesting memories.

2. Then we compared notes. We decided to use the questions we had both circled. In our case, there was a total of about seven or eight questions we decided to answer (we found that provided plenty of great material for a book).

3. We wrote our answers to the questions (usually a paragraph or two was all we wrote) and gathered up some pictures. In some cases, we didn't have pictures of the place, item, or person, so we found images from the web or stock image sites. For example, my husband had an imaginary friend as a child, (the sweetest story ever), so, of course, we didn't have a picture, but we found this as a stock image. Perfect, right?!

 Inside personal history book with a picture of an imaginary friend

4. We put all those stories and pictures in a book at Cherish|Bound. We ordered six copies (one for ourselves and one for each of the kids, so they wouldn't fight over it) and gave them as Christmas gifts. I know we are months away from Christmas, but if it isn't too early to imagine a wonderful Christmas morning, start your own book now. The moment we had all of the kids open their books at the same time, everything just stood still. For a few precious moments, they pored over the pages, turning them gently, starting to read... starting to understand... starting to see their parents as 3-dimensional creatures that actually had a life before, and outside of, them.

5. So, here's a few questions to get started, or download your own “When I Was Little” copies here: (They are just about $5 bucks when you use the 20% off code: momitforward2012)

What story were you told about your birth? How did your parents decide on your name? Who took care of you? Who were your playmates? What were your favorite toys and places to play? Who was the kindest person you knew growing up? What do you remember about your classrooms? Do you have memories of attending a church? What was Christmas morning like?

What are some other questions you could add to your "When I was Little" book?

Check out other posts in our Power of Story series:

For over 20 years, Carol Rice has been a national presenter, lecturer, author and conducted hundreds of workshops and training events about the power of storytelling.  Yet, she has been living it her entire life as the daughter of an avid genealogist, Carol learned first hand the importance of bringing our heritage to life through the power of story.  She currently serves as President of a storytelling and family history publisher, Cherish|Bound.  She produces an annual event called Story@Home. Has served as Outreach Executive Director for Timpanogos Storytelling Institute and Finance Chair of the National Storytelling Network.  Everyone has a story - Carol's mission is to help you tell yours. Find her on facebook, follow her on twitter: carolrice or email: [email protected]


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