To ask me if I have ever written a story is like asking a dairy farmer if they have ever milked a cow. The obvious answer is yes, I have written hundreds of stories and when I say this, I am not boasting nor exaggerating. The fact is I use stories as a means of writing my personal history. My stories are not just about me, but I have incorporated glimpses of experiences I have had with both of my wives, my sons, my grandchildren, my parents, sisters, grandparents, some aunts, and uncles, as well as some historical figures. Each story I share has a message illustrating something I feel is important for my posterity to know.
I started using stories as a medium for personal and family history more than twenty years ago. When my first wife Carol was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and only given six months to one year to live, I was devastated and wondered if there was something special that I could do for her with the remaining time we would share. After much thought I decided I would write her history from my perspective. The outline I created to guide me with this task listed several activities or special moments I had with her. I also included events that she had with her two sons and the grandchildren she knew.
This list evolved into an idea that percolated and eventually came to fruition. I would tell her life story through stories. It started out with fifteen or twenty ideas and then it grew to thirty or so and by the time I finished it had reached seventy stories that I wrote about her and her life.
I wrote about my marriage proposal and her response (of course I added a little fun to the story) and her reaction to her wedding ring that I had put inside of a box of Crackerjack. I also wrote about the birth of our oldest son Paul as well as the first time we met our youngest son, Peter.
Fishing and camping trips were also part of Carol’s life story and relationships with friends and hundreds of children that she babysat over the years. She had a great sense of humor as well as a serious approach to life. With each story I tried to paint a word picture describing who she really was so her grandchildren would have a better understanding of her and the way she lived her life.
After finishing these seventy stories I published them in a book entitled, “My Gift to Our Posterity: Memories of Their Mother & Grandmother, Carol Latetta Sorensen Cazier”.
When I presented this book to her, she was surprised and grateful for the time and effort that I had devoted to this project. Tears welled up in her eyes and in the eyes of her oldest son Paul and his wife Jenny (Peter knew about the project because he helped me with computer issues). I hope that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren read these stories and learn an appreciation of their grandmother.
In addition to these stories, I wrote similar stories about my mother and my father describing their lives. Many of these stories came from personal experiences while others came from stories my grandparents shared.
Several years ago, my current wife Anne and I wrote a book called, “The Resiliency Toolkit: A Busy Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy, Confident, Successful Children”. This book was written to help parents with challenges they may face while raising their children. We recognized the power of stories in illustrating the concepts we were teaching so we included more than fifty in our book.
About seven years ago I decided to write my own history and the only way I knew how to write it was through my life stories. So, I set out on my journey to tell my story in a way that would hopefully stimulate my posterity to read it and learn about their grandfather who has been known to be somewhat crazy in life.
To this date I have written three hundred stories about me. Now lest you start thinking that I like to write about myself so I can brag about some of my insignificant accomplishments I want you to know that many of my stories have not been about me but include something I believe would benefit my family. I want them to know that their grandfather can be silly and fun but also serious.
Now if you look at the title of this post, it also asks if I have ever written any poems. The answer is yes. I have written two both about my oldest son Paul and I’m sharing them here:
Piddle paddle pollywogs,
Likes to eat little green frogs.
I know a boy named Paul,
Who fell off a big rubber ball,
He rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled until he hit a wall.
You may wonder why I didn’t use my creativity and write a poem for Peter. The answer is simple, he already had a poem I could recite to him called, “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickle Peppers”.
Writing this paper was a good experience for me because it helped me remember why I write my stories. I use stories to share my life and what I have learned with my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. It’s a powerful way for me to pass along my insights and personal values. My stories allow me to share my life experiences, how I interpret them, and the meaning I give to them may be more important than the actual experiences themselves.
I suggest that we all become storytellers to our children. I promise that you will reap rewards you never dreamed of, and your children will love them.
Happy Failing Forward,
PS Want to help your kids have less stress and more success at home and school? CLICK HERE to get a copy of our book, The Resiliency Toolkit: A Busy Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy, Confident, Successful Children.
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