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We are Losing Our Stories

My dad came from a family of eight.  He died when I was just 12 years old.  His death came long before I knew enough to ask questions and to bring out his stories.

To be frank, I’m not sure if he would have told them to me, or if we could have even had that kind of relationship.  Along the way, five of his other siblings have passed away.  Only two remain.

My dad’s family was separated by geography and time.  They grew up poor—with great hardship.  So coming together was not necessarily something that evoked warm, happy memories.

Occasionally, we might see each other at a wedding.  But we are all reaching the age where it’s mainly funerals.  And with the funerals come the certainty that another set of memories, and another set of stories have been lost.

I know that some of those stories get passed down to the kids.  But I’ve heard a troubling statistic:  there’s a 90% generational memory loss from parents to children.   Even if I go to my cousins, it is unlikely they’ll remember all the stories.  And to be honest, some of the stories are too deep and too painful to be resurrected.

I’m saddened by that loss.  Those stories represent my heritage.  They represent some image of the father I never really got to know.  Capture your stories before it’s too late.

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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