The Holiday season is a special time of year, and over time families have built memories during this festive season. These memories can include special stories about family gatherings or priceless legends of Santa Claus or other holiday traditions.
Do you have special memories of celebrating with family at grandma’s house? And how did Santa Claus really fit in your chimney with your childhood memories? When did you stop making a list for him? What family traditions have become so important over time that you just had to pass them along to the next generation? Have you done anything to preserve these special memories so that your loved ones can keep them going? Sometimes in the busy-ness of everyday life, we forget to honor and preserve those memories that are unique to our families.
Although the holiday season is a busy time for building memories, all of us have family legacies that are priceless and need to be preserved. If we don’t take the time to do it, nobody else will. Many people think that their kids or grandkids don’t really care about these things, but it’s not true. When polled, the younger generation nearly always wishes they had a written or recorded souvenir of their loved one’s life.
Sadly, the reality of preserving these legacies is often lost in traditional estate planning, but there are growing efforts among more innovative firms to make sure this changes. For some families it can be as simple as a student documenting an interview with a loved one (like 35,000 students did across this country during Thanksgiving using the StoryCorps app).
Imagine a grandparent telling how they learned the value of money, and who taught them these lessons during childhood. Imagine influencing your grandchild’s worldview by sharing how your military service impacted you and the way you view our country and the world. Imagine your grandchildren making your famous sugar cookies with their grandchildren several generations after you can’t be there to do it anymore. Imagine one of your grandchildren finding strength from one of your stories so they can face their greatest challenge “with you still by their side”.
When a loved one dies, there nearly always comes a time when those left behind wish they could just have one more chance to ask a few questions. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling to realize it’s too late. During this busy holiday season, we encourage you to take a step towards preserving your legacy – whether it’s taking 5 minutes a day to write down some memories yourself or if you decide to get help for the process. Luckily for us there are quite a few options when it comes to helping us preserve these legacies. Right here in the Kansas City area, Voices in Time has perfected the art of preserving legacies for families. We’ve worked with their trained historians, and they certainly understand the spirit of helping families preserve their priceless stories. As we mentioned earlier, on a larger scale, the StoryCorps project has raised national awareness about the need for, and importance of, preserving life stories.
- But you can get started on your own today. It’s quite easy if you just take 5-15 minutes. Here are 10 questions to get you started…
- What is your greatest regret? What do you wish you had done differently?
- What were your hopes and dreams as a child? Did they change as your grew up? If so, why? Did you change? Or did life change things?
- What would you like to see change in the world in the next ten years? (This question helps your loved ones see what you value most, and it can also help them carry on your legacy by working or contributing to that cause on your behalf.)
- What was the most rebellious thing you did as a teenager? (Fun questions can also hold great meaning and value for your loved ones.)
- What was your first date like?
- What’s your proudest achievement?
- Did you get any advice from your parents or grandparents that you’ve never forgotten?
- What was your most memorable summer?
- Who was your favorite teacher/mentor? And what did you learn from them?
- How would you like to be remembered?
In this digital age, there are many opportunities for preserving legacies. As you enjoy your own holiday traditions, we hope you will take the time to preserve your family legacies instead of letting them slip away. No matter how you choose to go about it, we at Bell Law Firm urge you to take action on this vitally important part of planning. When it comes down to it, many families would rather have a legacy with special thoughts, memories, advice or recipes than all the money in the world. Anybody can earn and save money, but only you have lived your one unique life. Give the priceless gift of preserving it this holiday season.