Think Your Grown Kids Don’t Care about Your Stories?
I was recently chatting with another local entrepreneur about our businesses. Her interest was piqued by a life story book sample I had in tow, and she was clearly drawn to the idea of preserving her stories.
Fast-forward two weeks, when I bump into her again: “I was talking about what you do with my 24-year-old daughter. She clearly had no interest in learning anything more about me or her father—she just doesn’t care.” As she said this, there was a look of barely concealed anguish on her face, her body folding in on itself.
Of course this isn’t the first time I have heard such a sentiment. Many people with whom I speak tell me that their kids—even adult children with families of their own—could not care less about their family history.
“If they cared, they would ask me what my childhood was like.”
“I’ve tried to tell my kids about what it was like to move here from China, but they barely listen.”
“Are you kidding? Of course I don’t talk about my past with my kids.”
The thing is: They might not care now, but they will someday.
How do I know? Because I have heard the regrets of too many. Folks who wish they had asked the questions, heard the stories, witnessed their parents as people beyond ‘mother’ and ‘father’—before it was too late.
Let me ask you this: Are there things you wish you knew about your own parents? That you wish you had been able to ask them before they passed away?
Now: Did you care about those things when you were in your twenties?
If you put yourself in your grown kids’ shoes, you’ll see that their lack of “care” about your past—about your experiences and wisdom—is because they haven’t learned to care yet. They take for granted that you’ll be there when…when they need something, and when they eventually want to talk (and listen). They are in the midst of forming their own lives, focused on the “me,” not, ahem, on you.
You get that, right? It doesn’t mean they don’t care; it means they don’t care to pay attention just yet.
Your stories are the gift they don’t yet know they want.
Don’t let your kids have regrets.
Still not convinced your stories will matter one day?
Browse the posts below to explore why it’s so crucial to preserve your life stories now for the next generation.