I pray that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is enjoying time with family and loved ones. Often during the holidays I think of loved ones that are no longer with us, especially my brother, Darrick. Yesterday while playing games with the family, particularly his son, my nephew, things would remind me of him. He was the only person whose trash-talking and instigating during cards, board games or even watching sports, that could get under my skin..lol. However, it also made me think how during these moments when the family is all together, it’s a great time not just to enjoy them, but also learn and find out more about the family and your history.
When I was 16, I started doing research and putting together our family tree. Visits to Mississippi, New York, San Antonio, along with letters and talks with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, opened up a whole new world of information about our family.
This is something I highly encourage. Even if you aren’t the one add visits to court houses, Department of Vital Statistics, and the like to do research, it’s a good opportunity to put together questions to get to know family members in a different way.
A few weeks ago, while visiting my parents, I asked my mom a few interesting questions that I never asked before, such as:
– What was your best and worst memory growing up?
– What were your favorite things to do as a child?
– What’s the one thing you want people to know about you?
– What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment, most proud moment, and future goal you still have?
This is a great way to talk and discuss more personal things with family. You can print them out in a survey and pass around or even better record their responses on video.
One reason I began doing questionnaires is because unlike my father’s side of the family, which had a lot of old photos and documents, my mom’s side didn’t. So, I decided to create some in their own writing, with their own thoughts. Doing this allowed us to have these interesting documented records of our family. Even in reading some of the surveys and letters now, years later, it’s pretty cool to read the answers and share with cousins the thoughts they had back then. You can even add putting together a booklet with the questionnaires and letters, a family scrapbook, or family presentation to share online.
Here is a copy of a questionaire I put together and had all family members complete, feel free to download, use, or even editted it with your own questions. Family Questionaire
And every time the family gets together you can add more or just go through and look back at some of the past things you’ve created. I love going through my scrapbook and family files. One of my most cherished things is the 2 silver dollars my dad’s father gave me when I was 10 that were issued the same year I was born. I even remember him giving them to me. And it just makes you smile to think of the memories of those who are no longer with you and be able to share that with the family and the next generation.
No matter how you spend your holidays, just take time to be present in the moment and cherish each other…