In the last year my husband, John, and I have adopted four girls, ages 11–16, from foster care. When they first started doing weekend visits we learned a lot about them—their likes and dislikes, their hopes and their fears. How? Often something in our home would trigger a memory, and they would launch into a story. We learned about how they ended up in foster care, their first days of school, and the events that molded their personalities.
In addition to sharing their stories, our girls often asked us to share ours. It never failed that after they got ready for bed they’d want to hear a story. They didn’t want us to read from a fictional book (although that often happened, too). They wanted to hear about us, about our lives.
Throughout the last year, the stories have not only been entertaining, but they helped our children understand us and our family culture. These stories have bonded us and have helped our children understand why we became who we are. Have you shared important stories from your life with your kids? If not, here are ones to start with:
1. The story of your salvation.
Your children may think you always believed in God, never struggled, or never questioned your need for God in your life. Later when they have doubts, struggles, and questions they may think they are all alone. Share about your journey believing in Jesus and dedicating your life to Him. If you became a Christian at a young age, share about other faith steps as you grew older. How did your faith change and grow throughout the years?
2. A story of a vivid childhood memory.
It’s hard for our children to picture us a kids, yet it’s our childhood that shaped who we are. One vivid memory I’ve shared is how my stepdad dropped me off at the wrong house for a birthday party when I was 5 years old. I didn’t know the strangers and had no way to contact my parents. I ended up walking a few miles to my aunt’s house with the person from the house driving behind me the whole way. That story gives a hint about my childhood, and it also explains a bit of my independence. Finally, that story explains why I’m so cautious with my own children. It’s amazing how much about me can be explained by one vivid, impactful event.
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