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The Power of the Family Story

In the following series of blogs, I’ll tell some of my family stories. What’s my purpose? To strike a chord with you with the thought, the hope, that you’ll remember your family stories. Better still, my hope is that you’ll tell your family stories to your children, your grandchildren, and even your great-grandchildren. It’s our stories that bind us together as family.

Have you discovered your family story?

They say that 90% of a person’s story will be lost at his or her death. I hope that’s not true. Stories are like steak. They feed our souls with substance for the long run.

One of the great stories of our family lore involves my great-grandfather, William, whom I was named after. The story goes that Great-Grandfather William ran a still: He was a moonshiner. It was an inebriating kind of work, yet one that certain revenue agents wanted to collect taxes on.

One particular revenue agent sought out my Great-Grandfather William with a persistent zeal. That zeal led him into the backwoods of the Ozarks, where that still was allegedly operated.

Now, whether it was for the still or his love for privacy, William didn’t take kindly to the revenue agent’s pursuits. As the revenue agent took him deeper into the woods, he poked his head out from behind a tree. As it turned out, William was a deadeye with a rifle and clipped the bottom earlobe of the revenue agent. Blood was aplenty, prompting scarcity of the agent’s presence.

Later, it so happened that the revenue agent met William in town. His response was exclamatory: “William—you nearly killed me!”

To which William’s reply was honest, if not sobering: “If I wanted to kill you, I would’ve aimed 2 inches over.”

Now, the truth is I’m not sure what that story shows about my dad’s side of the family—other than my hillbilly rebellious streak. But it’s a wonderful story that I’m sure hoping my kids will preserve, if for nothing other than its humor.

What stories are you seeking to preserve for your family?

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Laughter in the Sun
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Lessons from the Absalom Legacy

About Bill High

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

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