By Stephanie Lowry (SIC Mama)
As a mother of five with Italian heritage, I feel an immense need to instill family values and deepen my children’s understanding of the roots in which they are planted.
A truly memorable and engaging way we accomplish this is by taking trips down memory lane… literally.
Our day will begin with going to lunch at a small mom + pop eatery that generations before us have gone before. We will then drive the roads of our childhood and of those who came before us. All along the way telling stories of who did what and where. Showing the kids the very streets we played on, the homes in which our grandparents, relatives, and friends lived, and sparking up conversations of our fondest childhood memories.
In this way, our children feel more connected to their family and where they come from. They get insights as to how things have changed over time and see for themselves that we didn’t always have “everything” but this did not stop us from getting where we wanted to go.
Open up your child in a way that is not authoritarian.
They will fall in love with the stories and feel amazement at the marvels that made them possible and led you to them.
Telling our “love story” and those of our past relatives is also part of these trips. We make sure to stop at places we met, or had significant life events occur from proposals to weddings and every disastrous date in-between that turned funny and with each visual and scenic stop they are indulged with a beautiful story of their parents and ancestors.
One of my favorite stops to make is that of my grandparent’s house in the center of town, right past the green. Their first question to me was “Mommy, why did they have such a large driveway”. Well, my dear, Your great grandfather not only worked as a carpenter his whole life just as your grandfather does, but he owned his own deli right out of their own home, you see in the back of the house where there is a separate entrance off of the parking lot, that is where they ran their self-built business. He started this business after being diagnosed with ALS in hopes that your great grandmother would have a continuing source of income after he passed. The very best part of it being in their home is they were never away from family and their children could be a part of it.
I also thoroughly enjoy bringing them to see the spots my father took us, and his father took him to go mushroom picking, fishing and hiking. For those moments they see + ponder life’s many blessings and find excitement which has nothing to do with electronics.
When I was young, my father would always “detour” from where we were actually going and drive me through parts of town from his childhood and fill me with stories of the past. Moments I didn’t realize at the time were important to me but made an everlasting impression and are a part of who I am today. These “detours” have become a part of our family tradition now. I gained so much from them myself, that my husband and I now continue to do these with our children.
What I find most gratifying from doing this with the children is, we’re not only sharing our family’s history, we are also engaging them in wonder, and hope. They are gaining so many values from these trips without even realizing it at the time. With every love story, they learn to love and be loved. With every story of work + business, they are learning to work hard and aspire to their future goals. And with every story of childhood games + memories they grow a little insight on bonding, caring, creativeness + life outside of the screen. They grow a little more with each one of these trips down memory lane and our families memories and those of our own become nostalgically their own in a way.
What are some ways you instill family values in your children?