August may seem way too early to think about Christmas presents, but we are officially only four months away (to the day)! Plus, Richard Sater, who has previously written for Concordia about coping with grief and how he cared for his wife, Dolores, and her struggle with Parkinson’s disease, had a gift idea to share that requires some time and planning.
So this year, consider a present for your family that ensures it will be a Christmas they’ll remember. It’s a gift that can even be made at home or in a retirement community – so you won’t have to brave any crowded shopping malls! Enjoy…
Have you ever thought about giving your family a special gift – one that you can’t buy for them or that they can’t buy for themselves? Here’s a great idea: your life story.
My wife spent a lot more time with our children than I did while they were growing up. She told them many stories about her youth and the significant events in her life. My son recently reminded me of that fact and that there was so much they didn’t know about my younger days, and I got to thinking about that. I decided to write about my life and present it to my children as a Christmas gift.
My aim was to share the details I could remember about the things that were a part of my life that helped me become the person I am: about my childhood, college, military service, hobbies, interests, work and play. I covered more than my youth – I included descriptions of events that my children remember too, but I’ve given them a different perspective on those events.
After completing my original document, I presented it to my children at Christmas, and their response was very enthusiastic – so much so that I have continued to add additional chapters as I’ve remembered other activities and events that I thought would interest them. Sometimes their questions about certain activities spurred additional memories, which gave me even more to write about.
My children really appreciate the fact that I have added my own chapters to the family history and to their understanding of me and other members of the family. I hope my children have come to know me a little better as a result.
Developing my life story in a way that would make for interesting reading was a challenge – but the writing has been very satisfying. My life story may not be of interest to anyone outside my family and friends, but I did not write it for anyone else and it is filling the need that I believe existed. If you are accustomed to keeping a diary, you’re already on your way. That’s a great place to start. If not, here are some suggestions to get you started thinking about your life and putting it into words:
I think you will be surprised at how interesting it can be to reflect on your life, and about the level of interest your life story will generate among your family and friends. You’re making a lasting contribution to your family’s history for your children and succeeding generations to appreciate.
Get started. No one can tell your story better than you, but your memory is not likely to get better with the passage of time. The only wrong thing you can do is not start at all.
Even though it may still seem too early to think about, giving your family or friends your personal life story from your own perspective is a heartfelt Christmas present they will cherish for years to come.
With over 130 years of service, Concordia Lutheran Ministries has a long history of helping seniors and their families. And as one of the most comprehensive providers in the country, we’re able to find the right fit from a care and cost perspective.
Serving over 20,000 people annually in a facility or in their very own home, Concordia offers a lifetime continuum of care that includes adult day services, home care, hospice, medical and rehabilitation services, memory care, personal care, respite care, retirement living, skilled nursing, and medical equipment capabilities.
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