I’m not embarrassed that I read Parade weekly. That skinny little magazine comes with my Sunday newspaper and is hard to ignore, plus it always has some interesting factoids. A few weeks ago, Parade ran a quiz to let readers measure the happiness of their family life. Devised by author Bruce Feiler, the quiz was based on his own research that identified “the ingredients that make families effective, resilient and happy.” The very first question read:
When a team of psychologists measured children’s resilience, they found that the kids who ___ were best able to handle stress.
(a) Ate the same breakfast every day
(b) Knew the most about their family’s history
(c) Played team sports
(d) Attended regular religious services
The answer was (b)! The explanation: “The more children know about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem. The reason: These children have a strong sense of ‘intergenerational self’—they understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves, and that families naturally experience both highs and lows.”
Intuitively, I really relate to that explanation. Don’t you? Doesn’t that knowledge of what came before you provide a necessary identification of who you are? So if you’re not writing a memoir for your own amusement, write one for your children and grandchildren!