Storytelling has been a vehicle for transferring values, memories and
culture to each subsequent generation. Wherever families gather, a story
will probably be toldhow the first generation came to the United
States, ancient stories that teach a lesson, or the first time that the
parents met. Every gathering is an opportunity to share the family history.
It is often the small things that trigger a memorya smell, a song,
the way the light reflects off the clouds. Our minds are full of the memories
of our childhoods, our teen years, and our first love. These memories
are the foundation of our personal histories; each one is unique.
Below are some activities that suggest how you can
pass on your memories and values to your children.
Books open the world. In a book, a child can imagine, learn, laugh, and
explore faraway places. The time spent reading together is a special time
for parents and children, a quiet retreat from the rush of everyday life.
Reading with your children will also help them to do better in school They'll
learn to love reading and how to use books to learn new things. The National
Latino Children's Institute have compiled a list of reading
tips and book suggestions to help you share stories with a child in
One way to share stories is to read a book with your child(ren) and then
relate the story to a special memory or family story.
Another way of sharing stories is to share family stories. Creating a
"memory book" for children is a way of sharing and preserving
family stories. The book doesn't have to be created all at once, you can
start on your memory book and pull it out to work on when other memories
arise or new memories are made. The memory book will become a family treasure,
and the process of putting it together will create its own memory. Some
ideas to help you get started on your memory book might include:
- What stories from your youth do you want to pass on to your children?
- What did you learn from an elder - a grandparent, parent, aunt, or
uncle - that made you feel grown up?
- Did you and your family always live in this city? If not, when did
you move here? Why? Where did you move from?
- What happened the first time you tried to cook something? How old
- What are some of your favorite memories? (Birth of a child, new job,
You can see some examples or download templates to begin your family
memory book at the American
about how some Latino families are demonstrating what it means to be a
family learning to live in the United States, specifically in northern