Tuesday, December 29, 2015

BOOT CAMP - Lesson 7 - Traditions

Christmas always seems to be a time for traditions. Most of us have some traditions that we grew up with and have continued as adults with our family. Now would be a great time to write down the traditions of your family as a child and those of your family today. Tell about your traditions on your family tree! If you don't have any traditions, maybe this would be a good year to start some!

What are traditions?
Traditions are behaviors and actions that you engage in again and again - regular rituals that you perform at the same time and/or in the same way. Traditions, when done right, lend a certain magic, spirit, and texture to our everyday lives.

7 Reasons why traditions are important - by Frank Sonnenberg
  • Tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends.
  • Tradition reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless.
  • Tradition provides a forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that really matter in life.
  • Tradition offers a chance to say “thank you” for the contribution that someone has made.
  • Tradition enables us to showcase the principles of our Founding Fathers, celebrate diversity, and unite as a country.
  • Tradition serves as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends.
  • Tradition offers an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection.
This Christmas season take some time to gather the family and discuss the importance of your family traditions. (This would be a great Family Home Evening!) Most of all, have a wonderful Christmas.

BOOT CAMP Lesson 6 Thankful for the Memories

While pondering a lesson for November, I was reminded of a Thanksgiving many years ago and  thought it would be a good lesson for this month. The topic for this month's lesson will about recording family memories for future generations.

With the holidays upon us, many of us will be visiting with family - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and friends too! Now is the perfect time to record some of their history. In order to do this, go well equipped. You will need the correct tools to record these wonderful memories. Let's discuss some of what you will need to prepare yourself.

1 - A Plan - Plan ahead, even if you aren't sure that the opportunity might arise, if you have some items with you and have some simple preparation, you can do an interview on the fly. Attend your gathering with a "thought" and a "plan" to glean information from your family.

2 - Equipment - It is imperative that you have some kind of recording devices to save these memories that you want to acquire. The most basic is to use a cell phone for pictures and or videos. Better yet is a digital camera for live videos and still photos. You may also want to bring along a little digital tape recorder. Make sure everything is in at least digital format (or whatever is the most current mode of recording) so you will be able to easily transfer it to Family Tree or some other keepsake like a video or photo album. If you have a portable scanner, not a bad idea to take it with you but don't forget, your cell phone or camera may also be used to record documents and printed pictures (like those on a wall or in an album).

3 - Outline - Decide ahead of time what you are wanting from those at your gathering. Be prepared so you don't waste time and frustrate those you want to interview. Be organized in how you go about getting what you want.

PHOTOS - Be sure to know your camera before you go to your family gathering. Make sure the batteries are fully charged. Have a card large enough to record all the videos and pictures you would like (you may need an extra battery and extra cards). Take as many pictures as you can because you will wish you had more and the "right time" may never come along again.

INTERVIEW - Definitely have a plan for interviewing. There are a few different ways to glean stories from family. Some people are very nervous about sharing or talking about themselves and their lives. Many think their lives are unimportant and feel there is nothing to talk about. You can take different approaches. You can ask questions - probably starting with their childhood and moving through their life. Another is to record a friendly family gathering with some leading questions to inspire the discussion. Be sure to include the important things in a person's life like names, dates, places, etc. Don't forget to get the stories! Watch this short video to help with some ideas. There are lots of ideas online with questions to ask and how to make others feel comfortable while being interviewed. Be sure to record the questions as well as the response from the person being interviewed as their response may not be clear without the question.