Patricia Burrow sent me this great email today. I couldn't wait to tell you about her idea. We've already scheduled a time to do this with my family this summer. We're going to do it at our traditional summer get together. But we may have to do it at other holidays too. Thanks for the great idea Patricia!Hello Janet,
Love the Zap books.
I wanted to tell you about a success we have had in our home. Several years ago someone told about how they had everyone write a "story" to be read at Christmas dinner. What a great idea!! My husband and I sent out letters to all of the children before Christmas to say that all we wanted for Christmas was a story. Two paragraphs to two pages, photo illustrations optional. And, the new rule is, no dessert until you read a story that you have written. The first year, only my husband and I read our stories (they got dessert anyway with a promise to do better the next year). The second year, half did the story and a few thought that they could get away with TELLING a story (nope! it has to be written). Third year EVERYONE had a story, most with photo illustrations. All were wonderful and everyone enjoyed it very much. Loads of laughs. Now, they all look forward to this "tradition". We learn more and more about our daughter-in-law and new son-in-law and they learn about us. The grandkids are hearing family history and our kids are hearing stories about their parents that they never knew or experienced in a younger time. After last week's Easter dinner our seven year old grandson said that he already had his story done for next year. I think he thought that we were doing stories for every holiday. He was a bit disappointed but knows he will be ready for December. I think we have him hooked. We have allowed the kids to make up stories until they are 12 years old at which time they have to write real stories.
Stories could be about anything, about firsts (school day, riding a bike, tasting oysters, going to Disneyland, etc) or events (meeting your father, becoming a mother, graduation, coming home, etc.) or people (I remember grandpa, or my 3rd grade teacher, etc.). A friend tried this at their home and they loved it. Dad told a story about an activity he did with his son. His son disputed that story and told his own story the next year. It is now a family fun time to hear several sides to one story.
I collect all of these stories and include them with the year's Christmas photos and Christmas cards in a scrapbook. I put five years worth of pics and stories into one scrapbook and put it out on the coffee table during the holidays. The book is seldom closed while there is family in the house. We are on our second scrapbook and the stories are read and reread every year.
I hope that you get wide distribution of your books and that more families will bring the grandchildren into their stories. Thanks for you good work. - pb