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Posted May 23, 2001
Valuable Resource for Your Oral and Written Famly Histories
The purpose of this book is to bring 'family members closer together, through the mutual sharing of stories, memories, and dreams.' What could be nicer than that? The book is designed to help you 'set aside time occasionally to share who . . . [you] really are with those . . . [you] care about most.' The method used is a series of autobiographical questions about you and biographical questions about others in your family. These questions are designed to be 'insightful and entertaining.' The authors suggest three possible ways to use the book. The first is to get a group of family members together, ask one of the questions, and listen to what each person has to say. The second approach is to read the questions and reflect on them by yourself. The third is to write out answers and to make them available to family members now and in the future . . . as a sort of generational gift. Although the book has plenty of room to write answers in, you may want to write them on separate sheets so someone else can use the book without being conscious of your answers. Then, you could find some clever way to attach different sets of peoples' answers with the book. As the authors point out, the main thing is that you use the book, not how you use it. The first 80 questions or so focus on childhood, teenage years, dating, getting engaged and married, your marriage, and child rearing. The next questions look at work and career, life experiences, dreams and accomplishments, spirituality, and personality. The final set of questions examine your family's history and how you would like your own passing away to be experienced by others. Here are some of my favorite questions from the book: 'What was your favorite family tradition as a child?' 'When you were growing up, what was the most memorable vacation your family ever took?' What was your favorite book as a child?' 'What house did you always look forward to visiting as a child?' 'What wsa the most enjoyable date you ever shared with the person who became your spouse?' 'What was the funniest thing that happened on your wedding day?' 'What is the greatest lesson your children ever taught you?' 'How do you measure a person's success in life?' 'Which of life's mysteries are you most curious about?' At your funeral or memorial service, what three songs would you want sung or played?' 'If you died tomorrow, what would be your greatest satisfaction in life?' I have another suggestion for you, which is to give this book as a gift to older members of your family and ask them to answer the questions on tape for themselves and anyone else who they knew well who is no longer living. In this way, you can cross the generational divide in a more powerful way. I also suggest that you add other questions to this book, that have special meaning to you. Here's mine: What does each person in your family do that makes you happiest? Let questions lead you to add more meaning to your life. Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent SolutionWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.