Tell me, Dad
In self-retreat with your young ones? It may be the perfect time to explore where you come from, where your children come from.
Our family shapes us. Learning about our mother and father's lineage gives us a place and a sense of belonging. When children know their place, they feel safe, they can connect, they can learn.
Doing a family tree together is a wonderful way to give this sense of belonging to your children. You can start with three generations, children, parents, grandparents... More if you can go further back... You can use an A3 cardboard, a board made out of cork, you can paint a mural on a wall... Write the family first names, stick a photo or draw a portrait for each of them, children can add something nice for each member, using different colours, a word of gratitude, a question...
While remembering your ancestors, you can tell your children old family stories or legends you heard when you were a child, cook a family recipe or revisit your family album with them. Be creative, enjoy the process!
Children who hear plenty of stories about their close ancestors, parents, uncles, grand-parents and great-grand-parents can build a family history, partly legend, partly true. With its own myths, secrets and embellished memories. Sharing with our children the beauty and the struggles of our forebears gives them a sense of belonging, a solid place in the world, and an understanding of their own identity. A nursery rhyme that our mother used to recite, our father’s favorite joke, the chicken recipe from our grand-mother, our native language, the colors of our country of origin, our grand-father’s watch, the songs from our childhood, that special way to cut the bread or prepare a fireplace, traditions, objects, all this helps us to package the past so that we can live a more meaningful present. Even when our family has been visited by tragic events, we can rewrite our story, letting our children know about the survival and resilience of their ancestors. We are narrative creatures, we love storytelling. May our children be part of the main story, the story of their own family.