– Mary May Larmoyeux – The older I get, the more I realize how much stories shape history. I was reminded of this when one of my grandsons asked me how old I’ll be when he’s a teenager. The truth is, I’ll be about the age that my grandmother was when she entered eternity. Of course, I didn’t tell him that. I think I said something like, “old.”
But his question made me think, How many years do I have left on Earth, and how does God want me to use them? The result? I renewed my vow to get the countless scrapbooks in order and write down even more of our family’s stories.
Stories are so important! A few years ago my husband, Jim, and I had the privilege of hearing Holocaust survivor Agi Geva speak about her experiences in the concentration camps during World War II. It was amazing to hear her tell how she and her sister managed to stay with their mother throughout the whole ordeal.
I will never forget seeing Agi roll up her sleeve to display a stamped number on her arm. Her message to the audience: “Never forget!”
How stories shape history
Like Agi, you and I have experienced events in life that our children and grandchildren will only read about. For me, Vietnam, 911, and Hurricane Katrina are not just words in a book. Nor are the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.
As a teenager, I visited a friend whose brother was killed in Vietnam. Years later I watched on TV when the twin towers fell and even interviewed one of the survivors, Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell. And in September 2005 I went to Louisiana as a volunteer with my church to help feed the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Until I heard Agi speak, I never really thought much about how our stories shape history. To me, most of them have been so … “usual.” But after I heard her message, I was reminded of the responsibility and privilege of sharing my walk through life with my legacy. And I was challenged to write down some of Jim’s and my life lessons for our grandkids.
Whether or not we realize it, our real-life stories matter. “History never looks like history,” John W. Gardner said, “when you are living through it.”
How are you helping your children or grandchildren not to forget your family stories, and the stories of those who made this nation great?
If you live in Central Arkansas, you can hear a first-hand account of a World War II survivor of the Holocaust on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium of the University of Arkansas Community College in Morrilton. A speaker from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will share a story that you will never forget.
Picture and post copyright © 2014, 2017 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Would you like some creative ideas listed by month that can help you connect with your kids or grandkids? Check out The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart by Nancy Downing and Mary May Larmoyeux.