Encouraging Your Family to Share Stories
There is a famous quote from the book Into the Wild. It’s the beautifully tragic true story of Christopher McCandless—a young man in his twenties who leaves everything behind to hike from California to Alaska. He journaled his experience as he spent time with strangers who would come to care deeply for him, but he never stayed put for long. He eventually made it to Alaska where he survived off the land for a while, but alone, he succumbed to starvation. His journal was found with his remains, and one of the last entries was:
“Happiness is only real when shared.” - Christopher McCandless
The story of Christopher McCandless provides an excellent example of the importance of sharing stories and keeping memories alive. We all have experiences in life that we can look back at and smile, but those moments are fleeting if we don’t share them!
StoryCombs was built on the concept that our stories grow stronger as they connect to those of the people we share our lives with. Everyone experiences the world a little differently and brings a unique perspective to the family narrative. Working together, we can create a much richer depiction of life as we’ve lived it.
You may find that some family members enjoy watching stories on StoryCombs, but they are hesitant to record stories of their own. Keep in mind that being the storyteller may be outside the comfort zone of most people. However, loved ones may be more willing to tell stories if you remind them that the family narrative isn’t complete without their part. Ask them to consider the idea that in 100 years, a descendant will see a photo of them and wonder what they were like. Recording even a few stories from their perspective can provide a wonderful glimpse into who they are and what they care about.
Champion the Cause
Deciding on a story to tell can prevent family members from getting involved with your StoryCombs project, and you will need to take the lead in getting them started. First, ask them to comment on a story you've already posted. What did the story remind them of? Do they have any details to add to the story? This will help get them comfortable contributing to the family narrative.
If they are hesitant to be on-camera, offer to interview them and be their camera operator. Tell them your job will be to make them comfortable and take care of things like operating the camera so they can concentrate on storytelling. Suggest someone for them to partner with on camera. If they tend to be more talkative with their sibling, ask them to get together for coffee let you record it.
Bring your camera to family gatherings, like holidays, dinners and reunions, and ask loved ones to tell you a story on-camera. Or, place the camera on a shelf or out of the way to record conversations as they naturally happen.
Even if your family drags their feet, don’t be discouraged. Be consistent, but don’t pester people for stories. Every time you record a story, share it and ask for feedback. Share articles about how important a family narrative is for future generations. Be enthusiastic and honest about how important this project is to you.
With any method you try, make it fun and relaxed for your loved ones! The best part of StoryCombs is the chance to collaborate with your loved ones on a meaningful storytelling project. StoryCombs is the perfect place to keep family near and far connected to the family culture. As your collection of unique family stories grows, it will become one of the family's most treasured assets.
How does your family tell stories? Leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to feature your story to inspire others to tell theirs.
The StoryCombs team created this blog to encourage, inform, and inspire your storytelling journey. Try the StoryCombs app to curate a lasting legacy through narrated photos. We believe your family’s narrative is precious and deserves a safe place to live and grow.
For more storytelling tutorials and inspiration, visit our homepage and blog: www.storycombs.com.