Make Resolutions to Preserve Family Stories in 2014

LeftoversWhew! We made it! The holidays are over, the parties done, and the New Year’s Resolutions are on our minds. And here we are–already in the second week of 2014!

So how are those resolutions going and what’s on your list this year?

Ours include the usual ones like losing weight. Getting organized is another top priority. One of the big projects on our 2014 list is going through all our photos and preserving some of our own stories. Yes, even we (the founders of Saving Memories Forever) need to plan ahead. In fact, we’ve finally wizened up to the fact that we have to put these projects on an actual To Do list. Otherwise, they’ll simply won’t get done.  Sound familiar?

The start of a new year is a great way to make plans for preserving your family’s history through photos, documents and, most importantly, the oral history and stories that get passed down from generation to generation. Here’s the list that we’ve developed.

Resolution #1: Get Organized and Make a Family History Plan
That’s right Stan, a plan. All projects big and small require some planning and some efforts at organization. We’ve gone so far as to set aside two Sunday afternoons this Winter as story recording time. Before then we’re going to ask our family to select questions on the Saving Memories Forever app. Or they can make up their own questions. Then we’ll sit down with our interviewer (in person or on Skype) and we’ll respond to those questions. Then we’ll go through the whole process of uploading, saving, and sharing those new stories with our children and extended family.

The plan doesn’t just end with Winter. By early Spring, we plan to develop an extended list of relatives whose stories we want to begin to capture. Many of those relatives will be in sunny Florida in March. Before we go down there, we’ll arrange to talk to some of those relatives. At the moment our goal is to record 3 stories apiece from 5 people. Certainly sounds do-able over the course of a week and with scheduled time set aside.

Resolution #2: Preserve Photos the Fun and Easy Way
This summer when we finally get access to our stored boxes of photos, we’ll start sorting through our pictures. We’ve set a goal of going through 2 boxes over the summer. That may sound less than ambitious. But we plan to scan and group our favorite pictures so it’s not as simple as it seems. But storing our favorite photos as digital images on our computer is a good inside project to do when the hot, humid summer months in St. Louis make air-conditioning a strong ally.

One trick that we will probably use is to place a box of photos near the television. Each evening, we’ll set a target number of photos to process while watching TV. This approach should be easy and definitely help minimize the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Resolution #3: Create a Check In System
Most of us are all gung-ho about resolutions in January, but what about May or November? We’re certainly guilty of the same so we’ve set up a reminder system using both my wall and Harvey’s digital calendar on his iPhone. These programs will help us take inventory of the progress we’ve made. Just in case we’re not making the progress we had planned, we’ve added some time-sensitive incentives. These time-sensitive incentives mirror our plans. For example, our plan is to expand our circle of interviewed relatives during our visit to Florida in March. The incentive: dinner at a favorite restaurant down there. Who says Pavlov didn’t have the right idea?

So What Are You Waiting For?
Just because you didn’t include these plans in your original resolutions doesn’t mean that you can’t add them  now. We encourage you to do just that. It’s really up to you to make that step today. Preserve those family memories. Make sure they get passed on down to the future generations.
Thomas Editor’s Note: This article was inspired by a blog written by Thomas MacEntee. Thomas gave Saving Memories Forever permission to use his article as a base.

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About Saving Memories Forever is an affordable online system that helps people record, share, and save their family stories. It combines a free app for iPhone/iPad devices and Android smartphones with a private website. You can join us as a Free Member to try out the system. Or you can join as a Premium Subscriber where you will have unlimited access to all of the features. Either way, Saving Memories Forever is an easy-to-use system that helps you build a collection of family stories and keeps those stories organized and accessible to family members. Our Blog is a celebration of family and life in general. Our posts offer helpful tips and insights that will help you on your way to preserving your family's oral tradition.