Every Story Matters

By Lauren Klein, Director of Family Philanthropy

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Jewish tradition is rich with stories we have passed down for generations. Stories retell our history, transmit our values, and pass along important life lessons. Stories are a powerful, inspirational and educational tool.

At the seder last month, we gathered with families and friends to remember the Passover story. We are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus. “Remember” is a theme of the evening. “Remember that you were strangers in the land of Egypt … Remember that the Lord took you out of the bondage of slavery.”

Sharing stories gives every family member a new and important connection to the past. It also enables you to capture stories, connect generations and preserve legacies. Do you know your family story?

Nearly 30 years ago, my husband interviewed his grandparents, and the discussion was recorded on audiotape. They talked about what life was like for them growing up and described different people in their family. Listening to it now is priceless because in addition to having a record of his family’s history, he has a permanent keepsake of his grandparents’ voices. It is also a unique gift for our children, who are now eight and 10 years old. What originated as a simple school project has turned into a special family treasure.

I encourage you to use every opportunity to talk to your parents and grandparents to hear their stories. You will learn about their role models, guiding values, work ethics and approaches to charitable giving.

You might be struggling over where to begin. I think the beginning is a good place to start. I’m sure some valuable life lessons were learned early in their lives. Here are some suggested questions:

• What was your family life like growing up?
• How did your family celebrate holidays when you were a child?
• Who were the family members that most influenced you?
• What causes are most important to you?
• Were there any turning points that changed the course of your life?

By using these questions as a conversation starter, you will glean helpful and sentimental wisdom that will be passed from one generation to the next.

Everyone has a story. It’s a special story. It’s a story worth telling.

Join THE ASSOCIATED’s Center for Funds & Foundations on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at noon for an inspiring program, “Every Story Matters.”

For more information, contact Lauren Klein, Director of Family Philanthropy, at 410-369-9278 or http:// lklein@associated.org.

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Filed under Families, Philanthropy, Seniors, Women

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