Yesterday, after his soccer game, I pulled up one of my family history newspaper clippings on the computer and read it to him:
I also showed him a photo of Nick Grilliot. (If you have them, photos always help kids make better connections and keep them interested for longer.) My son asked if the photo showed his cut, and I had to explain that no, this photo was taken before the accident happened.
Had he remained interested in my little history lesson, I would have talked with him about how dangerous working on a farm could be, even in modern times. Maybe next time; he has plenty of farmers in his family tree that I can use as examples on that topic.
When you want to start introducing your kids to specific ancestors in their family tree, I think this is how you have to do it. You have to creatively look for ways to connect their lives to their ancestors' lives. It may mean only talking about one small event from a great-grandparent's life, but if you do that often enough, over time, kids will build up a fairly healthy knowledge of some of the experiences of the people who came before them, and the history too, for that matter. Even more importantly, kids will begin to understand that their lives really aren't THAT different from people who lived long ago, and maybe they will start to feel a more emotional connection to some of their ancestors.
Newspaper Clipping Source: The Minster Post, 11 Sep 1942, page 6, columns 4-5
©2014, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder.